West Ham United managed to take the lead against Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter final clash thanks to an excellent freekick from their star playmaker Dimitri Payet. However, the French international has been accused of ‘diving’ by Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.
The home side were made to sweat following the Frenchman’s unstoppable effort, before compatriot Anthony Martial scored an equalizer in the 83rd minute to force a replay at the Boleyn Ground. However, Payet could have been sent off minutes before scoring after an alleged dive in the penalty area.
Unsurprisingly, that key moment proved to be a bone of contention between the opposing managers after the match.
“Payet was, more or less, diving. Of course, he was maybe touched but not to fall like that,” said Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal after the match, according to The Guardian.
However, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic felt differently and said that it should have been a penalty for the Hammers.
“Nobody in the world can say there wasn’t a touch,” insisted the Croatian. “Then if it was a touch, and it is more than a touch, it is a penalty. When you are sliding in the box from behind, I am not saying it was nasty, but it was mistimed.”
Bilic also mentioned the possible foul by Bastian Schweinsteiger in the buildup to United’s goal, alleging that the German midfielder impeded West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Anthony Martial’s crucial shot.
FA Cup could be the last hope of silverware for Van Gaal’s Manchester United
Despite starting the season with a lot of promise, Manchester United’s campaign soon crashed as they were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages, and eventually found themselves out of the running for the Premier League title.
The Europa League could be another route to silverware and Champions League qualification next year for Manchester United. However, arch-rivals Liverpool have made that a difficult prospect with a 2-0 victory in the first leg of their round of 16 clash.
The situation being as it is, the FA Cup could be the Red Devils’ only chance of winning silverware this season. However, Van Gaal’s side will need to get past a difficult West Ham United outfit that almost knocked them out this time around. The replay will be scheduled for next month, and will be the Hammers’ final cup match at the Boleyn Ground before they move to the Olympic Stadium next season.