Eberechi Eze was shown a yellow card for diving to win a second penalty against Everton – if awarded Crystal Palace would have had the chance to go 2-1 up in the first half.
Dermot Gallagher, a former referee, says it was the right call to spare Eberechi Eze a second penalty in Everton’s victory over Crystal Palace, but he also points out that a yellow card would have been a better alternative.
At Selhurst Park on Saturday, the Blues got off to a fast start as Vitalii Mykolenko scored his second goal in as many games in the opening minute. However, they were immediately pinned back after Jarrad Branthwaite’s touch with Eberechi Eze in the penalty area caused him to go down, and Eberechi Eze missed the subsequent spot kick.
Sean Dyche’s men would go on to seal three points late on through Idrissa Gueye’s winner, having lead on three separate occasions. However the main point on contention came in the first half with the scores level at 1-1.
When Branthwaite challenged again, Eze sprinted into the box, this time along the right byline. The Palace player anticipated that 30-year-old referee Sam Barrott, who was refereeing in the Premier League for just the fourth time, would point to the spot. Instead, the official blew up, awarding Everton a free-kick and booking Eze for diving.
“I do know Eze, that when he gets in those situations to create a chance, it doesn’t go through his head to throw himself down in the hope of getting a penalty,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson told Match of the Day.
“It might have been a collision and no penalty, I’d have accepted that. But to get a yellow card was not right. It suggest he’s a cheat which he absolutely is not. But I couldn’t see from the touchline if it was a foul or not.”
And it seems Gallagher concurs with Hodgson’s statement, explaining how the incident was not worthy of a yellow card – but Everton were correct to have escaped another penalty against them. This will be a lesson for Barrott, he believes.
“I won’t knock the referee, because I think he is one of the best up-and-coming referees,” Gallagher explained on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch. “But one thing l think he will learn is that there is a third option: the third option here was play on, which was a much better option, because it wasn’t a dive.”
Guest co-host and former Leeds United footballer Danny Mills disagreed to some extent, believing that Eze was searching for a penalty as he went to ground.
He added: “Even though there is a little bit of contact, l think there is still simulation. He is going down for the penalty even though it is not a penalty.”