Belfast Telegraph

Steven Gerrard: Referee was right to award penalty to Manchester United and avoid 'injustice' of a Champions League exit

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has backed the decision to award Manchester United an injury-time penalty in their thrilling win over PSG.

PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe, turning his back, was adjudged to have handled a Diogo Dalot shot as it struck him in the box.

Marcus Rashford blasted home the spot-kick to send United through to the Champions League quarter-finals care of a 3-1 away victory.

Former United players Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves, forming BT Sport's punditry panel, all agreed that the penalty should not have been awarded.

However, Rangers boss Gerrard has hailed the use of VAR and says it would have been an 'injustice' had it not be awarded.

"The rules are the rules and we can have to respect that," he said. "The rules aren't going to change during the season so it is what it is. Listening to the officials' comments on it is very interesting. They say the penalty decision was correct and the referee was correct,

"When I saw it initially myself, I'm thinking the PSG defender has been very hard-done-by. It's very harsh on PSG but if you look at the rules, it's the right decision.

"That's the reason VAR is so important. Without it, that gets missed and Manchester United go out of the cup, which would have been nice from a Liverpool fans' point of view but it would have been an injustice."

Was the referee right to award Manchester United's injury-time penalty against PSG? 🤔

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Gerrard was speaking after former Premier League referee Peter Walton backed referee Damir Skomina's decision to point to the spot.

"We called it straight away," he said on BT Sport. "We watched it. The way he's gone up - he's left his arm up and turned his back. This is exactly why VAR has been brought into operation.

"For me, that's a handball. He hasn't tried to get his arm out of the way. He's turned his back and hasn't taken responsibility for his arm. That's a penalty kick.

"As the law is written at the moment, that's handball."

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