Manchester United legend Gary Neville was among those left baffled by the penalty drama in the Red Devils’ Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, with the decision to award and then call for a spot-kick to be re-taken branded an “absolute disgrace”.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side saw Victor Lindelof punished for a second-half handball, before then seeing VAR intervene again as David de Gea was accused to straying off his line before saving from Jordan Ayew.
Neville said on Sky Sports: “Absolute disgrace. What is he? Two inches? You’re talking millimetres. That’s unbelievable. I understand if the goalkeeper is flying off his line gaining two yards but that is…”
The former United defender was not convinced that the penalty should have been awarded in the first place, with Lindelof having little time to react when the ball was scooped in the direction of his arm by Ayew.
Play continued after that incident, with referee Martin Atkinson called upon to check a touchline monitor.
His tame effort was beaten away by De Gea – the first time the Spaniard had kept out a spot-kick since facing Everton in the FA Cup back in April 2016 – but VAR was not done there and United faced further frustration when De Gea was pulled up.
Wilfried Zaha stepped up second time around and crashed the ball into the back of the net against his former club.
Premier League rules dictate: “The protocol for goalkeeper encroachment on penalties does not allow for tolerance levels, so if the ‘keeper saves a penalty and his foot is over the line then VAR advises it is retaken.”
While the regulations are clear, Neville is not the only one to have questioned them.
Bemused supporters and former players took to social media in the wake of the incident to air their frustration, with Gary Lineker saying the “game’s gone”.
United did pull a goal back after seeing Zaha establish a 2-0 lead for Palace, with Donny van de Beek netting on his competitive debut for the Red Devils, but the Eagles saw their Ivorian winger wrap up pull them out of sight with his second of the game.