Crystal Palace could be forgiven for feeling rather hard done by after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, where a controversial 96th minute penalty was awarded against them for an alleged foul by Damien Delaney on substitute Christian Benteke.
The game looked to be headed for a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park when Liverpool striker Christian Benteke went down in the box following a challenge by Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney. Referee Andre Mariner pointed to the spot after consulting with his assistant, and the Belgian forward scored to give Liverpool a last-minute win.
Despite the raging controversy over the decision, Benteke maintained that he felt a touch from Delaney which caused him to go down in the penalty area. However, the main debate on the issue seems to be whether that touch warranted a penalty.
“I feel sorry for Palace but I have just seen the replay in the dressing room and it was a clear penalty,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was quoted as saying by the BBC. “If there was no contact, Benteke would have been in a great position to shoot. He made the move and forced the situation.”
From the Palace camp, Delaney himself took to social media to say that he did not make any significant contact with Benteke. He even went on to say that whatever little contact he may have made was not enough for the big Belgian to go down.
I can honestly say I didn’t make contact with benteke today and IF there was slight contact I didnt impede him and certainly didn’t feel there was enough to award a penalty in the 96th min… If a penalty is awarded that late it has to be unequivocal, I waited over an hour to speak with the officials and in fairness to Andre Marriner he said he didn’t think it was a penalty but he trusted his linesman that much he awarded it. With the way the game was ref’d and the physicality of both teams it was unbelievably harsh. With how Wilfred and Yannick were man handled by Liverpool players over the course of the game, which I’ve no problem with, it was a really tough decision to take so late. All I can do is swallow it and hope to put this right. 🔴🔵🔴🔵
Pardew fumes in post match interview
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew had no sympathies for the referee or the linesman — or indeed the journalist who interviewed him after the match. The 54-year-old said he was “frustrated” at the officials for awarding the penalty.
“I’m frustrated because I looked at the referee – he was not going to give it and then he looked at the linesman who gave it,” said Pardew. “You’ve got to be 100% sure. In super slow motion the knee touches the foot and he goes over like he’s been shot.”
The Englishman accused Benteke of grossly exaggerating what contact there may have been. “He certainly made a big meal of it,” said the Newcastle manager. “If it had been us, we would not have got it. Damien pulls out, the follow through of his knee gets it. That’s tough.
“That touch doesn’t warrant that dive. If that touch warrants a collapse like that, then wow, we really need to say: ‘Come on’.”
When quizzed further about the incident, Pardew seemed to turn his ire at the Sky Sports journalist who was interviewing him. Here is a video of the full post-match interview.