Richards, Keane slam referee for Haaland decision in Man City draw: ‘The fourth official knows it’s a mistake’

Joe Williams
Man City striker Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland reacts to Simon Hooper's decision.

Micah Richards and Roy Keane have criticised referee Simon Hooper for denying Manchester City a late one-on-one situation in their 3-3 draw against Tottenham.

Son Heung-min put Spurs ahead of six minutes before the South Korean deflected the ball into his own net just three minutes later to get the Citizens back on level terms.

Phil Foden then put Man City ahead before half-time, only for Giovani Lo Celso to equalise on 69 minutes for the visitors.

Man City once again went ahead with just nine minutes remaining through Jack Grealish but Tottenham had the final say when Dejan Kulusevski struck an equaliser at the death.

A controversial moment came towards the end when referee Hooper allowed Man City to play on, despite Emerson Royal fouling Haaland, with the Norwegian finding Grealish one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

But, despite the advantage, Hooper changed his mind and gave a free-kick to Man City within their own half to the frustration of Pep Guardiola’s players and the pundits in the Sky Sports studio.

READ MORE: 16 Conclusions as Spurs mug Manchester City yet again in another episode of Etihad madness

“The referee had a brilliant game today until this moment. I don’t understand it,” former Man City defender Richards said on Sky Sports.

“The referee puts the whistle to his mouth, he waves the play on to play advantage. Jack Grealish is clearly onside and Haaland plays the ball through – and then he stops the play, which I don’t quite understand.

“The evidence is there for all to see, he should have let play go on. You can see on the fourth official’s face, he knows the referee has made the mistake. How can you explain it?

“He’s entitled to make a mistake – but the problem I have with that is how many situations have we seen where play is allowed to go on [so VAR can check it].

“If you’re in doubt, just leave the play to go on and then you can bring it back.”

And ex-Manchester United midfielder Keane concurred: “The referee has made a mistake. It’s a poor call, he’s got it wrong.

“Grealish is through on goal and credit to him, he played advantage. But he’s got that [the decision to bring it back] wrong. We can all see that.

“It’s a poor decision, but City will be critical of themselves for letting Spurs off the hook. They can’t look at the referee for that one.”