LONDON • Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said the stoppage-time penalty that allowed his side to snatch a 1-1 draw at Tottenham yesterday was “nonsense”, after another Premier League clash decided by the controversial interpretation of the handball rule.
Spurs had just Lucas Moura’s goal to show for a dominant first-half display and were made to pay when Eric Dier was penalised after a video assistant referee (VAR) ruled the ball brushed his arm in a challenge with Andy Carroll.
Callum Wilson converted the penalty with Newcastle’s first shot on target, leading Jose Mourinho to march down the tunnel before the full-time whistle was blown.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said last Saturday that the spate of penalties being awarded for contentious handball decisions was “ruining” football.
“I can understand why Spurs will go berserk and Roy Hodgson reacted like he did. It is a total nonsense,” said Bruce. “We should be jumping through hoops, but I would be devastated if that was us.”
Mourinho complained that Tottenham were not being treated equally to other clubs after a similar incident when the ball struck Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles on the arm was not punished.
“We know there are boxes and boxes, there are boxes for Tottenham and boxes for other teams. So we kept them away from the box and, on one occasion, we couldn’t, we lost two points,” said Mourinho.
For all their complaints, Mourinho’s men will also have to reflect on not taking their chances in front of the watching Gareth Bale, who was unable to make his second Spurs debut due to a knee injury.
The hosts enjoyed 66 per cent possession and had 23 shots to Newcastle’s six, with 12 finding the target.
Karl Darlow in the visitors’ goal was busy from the third minute as he clawed out Giovani lo Celso’s free kick and got up to block Harry Kane’s follow-up effort.
Kane tested the stopper again with a diving header, before creating the opener with a low cross which Moura bundled home. Son Heung-min twice hit the woodwork with shots from outside the box, while Darlow made another save from Kane to keep Newcastle’s deficit to one before half-time.
On a weekend already marked by complaints over the new interpretation of the handball law in the Premier League, Spurs were stung despite Dier clearly having no intent to handle the ball.
The incident followed similar match-deciding handball decisions in Manchester United’s win at Brighton and Everton’s victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
One of Mourinho’s assistants, Nuno Santos, was shown a red card for taking his dissent towards the referee too far, but the Spurs manager attempted to keep his counsel.
The Portuguese, who left Dele Alli out of his 18-man squad for the second straight league game, said: “The only thing I wanted to say is my team played very well. I want to be on the bench next match and I don’t want to be fined (so I don’t want to talk about the penalty).”
There was also drama in the earlier kick-off, with Patrick Bamford’s 88th-minute header giving Leeds United a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, who have yet to score this term.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS