Brighton should have been awarded a penalty at Spurs as PGMOL once again issues apology

Jason Soutar
Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma takes on Tottenham defender Cristian Romero

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited have apologised to Brighton after they were not awarded a penalty in their 2-1 defeat at Spurs on Saturday.

Brighton were controversially beaten by Cristian Stellini’s side after they had two goals disallowed and were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty.

Japanese winger Kaoru Mitoma had a first-half strike disallowed after he controlled the ball with his upper arm and Alexis Mac Allister thought he had put his side ahead in the 55th minute after Danny Welbeck’s shot deflected off him and through Hugo Lloris.

However, Welbeck’s shot hit Mac Allister’s arm and was chopped off.

In a game full of dodgy decisions, the biggest injustice came 17 minutes later with the score level when Mitoma was tripped in the box by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, only for referee Stuart Attwell to say play on.

The incident went to VAR, but after a short check, Attwell was not advised to go to the pitchside monitor by Michael Salisbury and play continued.

It was revealed on Sunday that PGMOL chief refereeing officer Howard Webb has apologised to Brighton, admitting a penalty should have been given.

Webb has held talks with the Seagulls about the decision-making process in the game.

This is the third time this season Brighton have received an apology from PGMOL for decisions made on the field.

Apology number one came after referee David Coote and VAR Neil Swarbrick did not send off Liverpool midfielder Fabinho for a horror challenge on young striker Evan Ferguson during an FA Cup clash in January.

The second came after Pervis Estupinan had a goal wrongly chopped off in the 1-1 league draw at Crystal Palace when the VAR official drew the offside lines in the wrong place when reviewing the goal.

Spurs went on to win Saturday’s feisty affair 2-1 thanks to Harry Kane’s 79th-minute winner.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi and Spurs interim manager Cristian Stellini were both sent off for failing to control their technical areas.

“I am used always to respecting everyone inside of the pitch and outside of the pitch,” De Zerbi explained before he declined to reveal the exact reason for his irritation with Stellini.

“I don’t like when people don’t respect me, but there are normal situations in football.

“It is personal things, no?

“I always respect everyone, especially the coaches. And I can answer for me, not for him.

“It was a personal situation and I told him what was my opinion, my idea. Not the words, not nothing, only my opinion.”

De Zerbi previously praised Webb for his transparency but another poor decision led him to say he would not be wasting his time with further meetings with the PGMOL chief.

Following Saturday’s loss in north London, Seagulls defender Lewis Dunk slammed the officials, saying: “There’s no point having VAR in the game if you’re not going to make big decisions like that. That changes everything, I just don’t understand it.”

He added: “They can make the decision for the handball but can’t make the other ones.

“I think they made one tight decision for a handball but they don’t make a clear decision on the penalty.”

Spurs boss Stellini admitted his side were lucky with the VAR decisions. He said: “It is the first time this season we are lucky with the VAR. We have to enjoy this moment because we were many times not lucky with VAR. One time it happened for us.

“We respected many times VAR decisions. Today, everyone has to respect it.

“We conceded their aggression. We were not so aggressive. We were quiet, focused on the game only.

“I don’t want to speak about this. I want to speak about the game, the way we finished, fought and didn’t concede the goal.”

READ MORE: Amadou Onana drops back in three-way race for Arsenal after Man Utd washout