Ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll has given his verdict on Manchester United’s equalizer against Manchester City over the weekend.
Put into the back of the net by Bruno Fernandes, the goal has elicited varied reactions with many questioning whether it should have stood.
Casemiro made a sublime through-ball pass to an offside Marcus Rashford. The Englishman, aware of his offside status excluded himself from play before an incoming Fernandes guided the ball past Ederson.
City boss Pep Guardiola strongly protested the goal being given and attributed the referee’s decision to him being influenced by the massive Old Trafford crowd.
Guardiola’s claims were backed by Manuel Akanji who claimed that Rashford was in play and interfered with his ability to get to the ball before Fernandes.
Poll had his say on the controversial goal and said that the matter is not as black and white as many perceive it to be.
“Rashford doesn’t touch the ball so that’s one of the criteria ticked off. He is in an offside position when the pass is played so that’s clear as well. So it hinges on whether he is affecting the opponents with his positioning.”
“I can argue from my perspective that he doesn’t. I know Manuel Akanji said he stopped to play Rashford offside. Well that’s a mistake by Akanji, not Darren Cann or Michael Oliver because the ball could’ve got swept 10 yards further left and then Rashford’s position is irrelevant so that’s a red herring for me.”
Poll added, “You can’t argue that Ederson is affected by Rashford approaching at the angle that he’s bearing down on goal from. I don’t believe that a referee who is totally engrossed in refereeing would necessarily look at that at the time.”
On whether Guardiola was right and the match officials were swayed by the Old Trafford faithful, Poll said these comments by the City boss were scandalous.
The former World Cup referee opined that the officials are experienced and gave the best decision they could.
He called for consistency which can only be achieved by the footballing authorities taking out the vagueness and uncertainty surrounding the rules.
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