In Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with West Brom on Sunday, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was left fuming by the decision of referee Craig Pawson to reverse a penalty.
Under a challenge from Semi Ajayi, Maguire went down halfway through the second half, with Pawson pointing at the spot to grant a penalty to United.
But Pawson ruled, after a VAR analysis of the free-kick incident, that Ajayi did not make appropriate contact for Maguire to go to the turf.
Maguire told Sky Sports, “We created a lot of chances – enough to win the game. With the target we conceded, it was difficult for us – it was a foul for us. In their half, we played the game. We should improve and do more, but it’s frustrating. It was a difficult job against a deep-defending team. We played at a great pace throughout the second half. I was so sure it was a punishment. I don’t understand why he was sent to get it checked.
I’m the defender’s goalside, I feel a touch on my shoulder, he pulls me back, and then I also feel a clip on my heels. It was minor, but it’s a penalty, particularly after the referee points to the spot you think it’s not likely to be overturned.
I was so sure it was going to be granted, but it seems like the choices are going against us at the moment. However, we can’t rely on VAR, we’ve huffed and puffed and have to change.
After the match, both Graeme Souness and Gary Neville decided on Sky Sports that Maguire went down too quickly to have been a penalty for the incident, with the latter pointing out that the defender might have been offside anyway.
“He goes to the ground like he’s been struck by a baseball bat. If he says he feels it’s a punishment, the way he goes down is not enough to put him down.
For Manchester United, this is such a poor outcome. He just said it’s a tough place to come, West Brom won a home game against the bottom team, it’s a tough place to go if you’re second or third in the league, right?”
Neville added: “The odd thing is that they didn’t look at the outside, to begin with, not complaining too much about Maguire. He’s got it right, he just goes down off that hand off the shoulder, it’s not enough to make Maguire fall.”