Jose Mourinho has refused to acknowledge Manchester United’s second-leg 2-1 defeat to Hull in the League Cup semi-final, seemingly discounting the home side’s controversial opening goal.
Harry Maguire and Oumar Niasse, leaping high at a corner, came into contact with both Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones in the box and John Moss pointed to the spot, despite their being no clear evidence of much forceful contact.
Tom Huddlestone duly converted, but the home side – despite Niasse’s late goal – never managed to restore parity following Paul Pogba‘s equaliser in the 66th minute.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was clearly reluctant to acknowledge Hull’s first goal.
“We didn’t lose, it was 1-1,” he said. “I only saw two goals. I saw a Pogba goal and their goal, a fantastic goal.
“It was 1-1, we are still unbeaten. I think 18 matches unbeaten is amazing. I didn’t see Hull’s first goal. We celebrate, we are in the final. I don’t want to speak about the penalty or the performance. The game was in our pocket, under our control, and something happened to open the game.
“The game was dead. The game was what we wanted it to be. I don’t want to say anything else, it is enough. I am calm. I behaved on the bench. No sending off, no punishment, so no more words.”
A general rule that referees have followed for decades states that a penalty should be rewarded only if clear illegal contact has been made. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
And looking back at what prompted Jonathan Moss into blowing his whistle, both in real time and in slow motion, it seems as if handing a penalty for what was essentially nothing more than some tussling in the box was a bad – but thankfully not costly – decision.