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Why Alejandro Garnacho was not awarded a penalty against Tottenham Hotspur



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Credit: BBC

Manchester United supporters and Erik ten Hag questioned the decision not to award Alejandro Garnacho a penalty during their 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.

Garnacho, 19, entered the penalty box in the second half and Spurs defender Destiny Udogie appeared to have his arms wrapped around the United forward before he fell to the ground.

Referee John Brooks waved the play on, and the video assistant referees did not intervene afterwards.

Following the game, in ESPN’s VAR Review series, Dale Johnson explained the reasoning behind the decision, and also the inconsistency following the penalty shout.

“Garnacho threw himself to the ground far too easily for the VAR to get involved,” Johnson wrote. “While Udogie did have his arm around the Argentine’s waist, that alone isn’t enough for a foul.

“The act of holding has to “impede the opponent’s movement” and it would have been a huge surprise if this crossed the threshold for a VAR review.”

However, most supporters were more frustrated with the inconsistency from Brooks in the game because shortly after he waved play on for the Garnacho situation, he awarded a foul on Richarlison for Christian Eriksen doing the exact same action that Udogie did to the Argentine.

Yet, Johnson’s explanation is that there are ‘unwritten rules’ within the Premier League and that the threshold for fouls outside of the penalty area is different to those within the 18-yard boxes.

“You can add in that holding outside the area is more readily penalised — Richarlison was given a foul in similar circumstances,” he added.

“As a penalty is a stronger punishment than a free kick, the threshold for fouls inside the area is much higher. It may not say this in the Laws of the Game, but it’s an unwritten rule of how the game is played and officiated.”

Ten Hag was of the opinion that it should have been a penalty, although the manager stated that there is nothing that can be done after some poor luck in relation to those decisions this term.

“Yes. What can you do?” he replied when asked about the incident. “But I am used to it, all season, that is the case. At Spurs, it was similar, a clear handball from Romero, and I can list a number more. At some point, I think it will turn.”