Pope explains why controversial Ronaldo goal was rightly ruled out despite angry protests from Man Utd superstar
- Portuguese thought free-kick was taken
- Effort chalked off by match officials
- Booked for arguing against decision
WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils thought they had broken the deadlock at Old Trafford in opportunistic style when Portuguese superstar Ronaldo nicked the ball off Pope’s toes early in the second half and rolled into an empty net. He was of the opinion that Fabian Schar had taken a free-kick when nudging possession back to his goalkeeper, but referee Craig Pawson pulled play back and the effort was chalked off – much to the disgust of Ronaldo.
WHAT THEY SAID: Explaining the incident to Chronicle Live, Pope has said: "The free-kick was slightly in the wrong place and obviously Fabby's (Schar) rolled it back to me and walked off. I think you know by everyone's body language that you know he's not meaning to take a free-kick. I think the referee sorted it out quickly and fair play to him for making the right decision and squashed it straight away."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo saw salt rubbed into his wounds when he was subsequently shown a yellow card for protesting Pawson’s decision, with United manager Erik ten Hag also seeking out answers from the match officials at full-time as he made his way onto the field.
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DID YOU KNOW? This was Manchester United’s 76th Premier League goalless draw, 31 of which have come since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 (41%) – the most of any side in the competition since the start of 2013-14.
WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? Ronaldo was replaced in the 72nd minute of United’s stalemate with Newcastle and must now wait to discover whether he will retain a starting berth for crucial Premier League clashes with Tottenham and Chelsea on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.