'Fraudulent decision!' - Why Real Betis goal against Man Utd was allowed to stand despite Juanmi's possible handball in build-up
- Ayoze Perez nets beautiful equaliser
- Catches United sleeping for 1-1
- But questions over handball in build-up
WHAT HAPPENED? After Marcus Rashford fired them ahead early on inside the Theatre of Dreams, United should've been putting the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie to bed against Real Betis. But alas, a combination of missed chances and lax defending presented their Spanish opposition with a chance of their own and Ayoze Perez took it, rifling in a half-volley from an impressive angle for 1-1. However, United fans were perplexed as to why the goal stood, with Juanmi appearing to handle the ball in the build-up when trying to bring it under control.
WHY DID THE GOAL STAND? As per the rules of handball via UEFA, 'accidental handball' that leads to a goal or a scoring opportunity is no longer considered handball. The organisation further states that a handball should be given if the ball touches the attacking player's arm in the immediate build-up play before the goal.
Juanmi's handling of the ball, it rolling down his inner left arm in a bid to control it with his chest, came at the beginning of the move which Betis scored from, which explains the thinking of referee Daniel Siebert. VAR Marco Fritz chose not to intervene, thus deeming the handball not clear and obvious enough to result in the goal being disallowed.
HOW MAN UTD FANS REACTED ONLINE:
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Perez's goal came following a period of dominance from Erik ten Hag's side in the opening 20 minutes, but also a period that lacked a clinical edge. Betis had the better chances after levelling the game, with United looking flustered once again heading into the half-time whistle, perhaps in fear of collapsing like they did away to Liverpool at the weekend.
Antony, to the relief of United fans, avenged the goal early on in the second half with a wonder strike of his own to restore his side's lead before Bruno Fernandes added another to make it 3-1. United continued to push for more with a two-goal cushion established, and made it 4-1 when Wout Weghorst poached a rebound following a fantastic run from substitute Facundo Pellistri.
WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? Given the chances they created early on, taking anything other than a comprehensive victory into the second leg away in Seville would've been a disappointment for the Red Devils, and presented Betis with hope to progress themselves.
However, a much stronger second half performance sees United take a three-goal lead into the second leg, meaning Manuel Pellegrini's side will need a miracle to turn things around at the Benito Villamarín Stadium.