Thomas Tuchel rages at referee’s refusal to give penalty for Arsenal’s ‘kid’s mistake’ handball

Thomas Tuchel rages at referee's refusal to give penalty for 'kid's mistake' handball
Thomas Tuchel was in disbelief on the touchline - Shutterstock/Andy Rain

Thomas Tuchel, the Bayern Munich head coach, raged against a “horrible, horrible” decision to deny his team a bizarre penalty in their thrilling 2-2 draw with Arsenal.

Tuchel and his Bayern players were furious that they were not awarded a second-half penalty when Gabriel Magalhaes, the Arsenal centre-back, picked up the ball after the whistle had been blown and a goal-kick had been taken towards him.

Bayern’s players claimed that Swedish referee Glenn Nyberg told them he could not award a penalty for a “kid’s mistake” in a match as important as a Champions League quarter-final.

“For me, for all of us, he made a huge mistake not giving the handball penalty,” said Tuchel. “I know it is a crazy situation but they put the ball down, he whistles, he gives the ball and the defender takes the ball in his hand.

“What makes us really angry is the explanation on the field. He told our players that it is a ‘kid’s mistake’ and he will not give a penalty like this in a quarter-final. This is a horrible, horrible explanation. He is judging handballs. Kid’s mistake, adult’s mistake. Whatever. We feel angry because it is a huge decision against us.”

The extraordinary situation was just one of a series of controversies that arose during a fascinating draw at the Emirates Stadium, where England team-mates Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka both scored for their respective sides.

Saka was furious not to be awarded a penalty of his own in stoppage time, after he collided with Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, while Kane escaped a red card for an elbow that caught Gabriel in the face in the second half.

Pundits split on Saka penalty decision

Leandro Trossard, the scorer of Arsenal’s second goal, said it “looked like a penalty” for Saka, who was visibly furious at the final whistle and approached the referee before heading down the tunnel.

The decision prompted a debate among television pundits, with opinions split on whether Saka had initiated the contact with the Bayern goalkeeper.

Martin Keown, the former Arsenal defender, said on TNT Sports: “Neuer is actually going towards that ball, he comes out and makes the challenge. For me that’s a penalty, all day long.”

And former England defender Rio Ferdinand added: “How has that not been given? With VAR, with everything, I can’t believe that’s not been given.”

Former Scotland striker Ally McCoist, however, accused Saka of “throwing his foot in” in an attempt to win the penalty. “The referee might just have got that one correct, because I don’t think Saka needs to throw his right leg into him. He definitely got there first, but there’s an element, he throws his right leg into him.”

Thomas Tuchel rages at referee's refusal to give penalty for 'kid's mistake' handball
Bukayo Saka went down after contact with Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer - Getty Images/Jan Kruger

Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, said he had not seen replays of either the challenge on Saka or Kane’s elbow on Gabriel. In his column for Telegraph Sport, refereeing expert Keith Hackett said the England captain was a “lucky boy” for avoiding a red for his “dangerous, reckless” use of his elbow in what was a “nailed-on red card”.

Arteta told his players they must learn lessons from the two goals they conceded and said Ben White’s failure to convert an early chance, with the score at 1-0, was a “critical moment” in the game.

“We started really well,” said Arteta, who changed the game in Arsenal’s favour by bringing Trossard and Gabriel Jesus off the bench. “We were dominant, we played in the opponent’s half, generated the momentum and scored the first goal.

“Then it’s a critical moment in the match. Ben White is in front of the goalkeeper and we have to put that in the net and make it 2-0. Then in the Champions League, you cannot give anything to the opponent, and we have given two goals today.

“When you have these situations they are going to punish you. That is the biggest lesson. The margins are very small in this competition. It is very difficult to penetrate the opponents and generate chances against this level of opposition. I think the team showed a lot of composure, especially after 2-1. You can throw your toys away and generate a lot of spaces for the opponent and lose the tie in 20 minutes. We haven’t done that.”

The build-up to the match had been dominated by fears of a terror-related incident, after Uefa said the Champions League games in London and Madrid were the subject of an alleged terrorist threat from Islamic State.

European football’s governing body said “appropriate security arrangements” were in place for both games, and fears of an attack were proven to be unfounded. As of the full-time whistle at the Emirates Stadium, the only external event of note was an Eid fireworks display that went off next to the stadium during the first half.

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