Howard Webb believes there would be “lots of controversy” if a penalty wasn’t given against Amadou Onana as Everton lost to Manchester City.
Referees’ chief Webb has explained that the officials got the decision right as they penalised the Toffees ace for a handball when the clubs met at the end of December
Manchester City won 3-1 at Goodison Park, with Julian Alvarez scoring from the spot after Onana blocked a Nathan Ake shot with his hand.
“I think we have got this one right on this occasion,” said Webb, as per BBC Sport (16 January). “The officials work together, the referee and the assistant referee, to come to the on-field decision of handball.
“They see Onana’s hand up by his head and in that position it blocks a shot towards goal. I don’t for minute think that he meant to do that, but you don’t have to commit a humble offence because the laws talk about taking a risk by putting your hand in that position.
“He’s reaching out with his foot to try to block the shot. He doesn’t do that, but his arm is up there and it blocks the shot. There’s lots of controversy if we don’t give this.”
Given that the ball did strike Onana’s hand, referee John Brooks awarded a penalty, having received confirmation from his assistant, with VAR then upholding the decision.
The Everton players were still understandably annoyed at the decision, as were the majority of people inside Goodison Park.
Consistency is definitely needed when it comes to such decisions, but sadly that has not been the case in the Premier League this season.
The penalty may not have had an impact on the final score given how the visitors won 3-1 in the end, but it certainly had a major impact on the game.
The hosts were leading 1-0 thanks to Jack Harrison’s opener, only for Phil Foden to equalise for Manchester City early in the second half.
Alvarez then netted from the spot to put Pep Guardiola’s men 2-1 ahead and thus give them momentum to go and clinch all three points, with Bernardo Silva adding a third late on.