Man City 3-3 Tottenham: Erling Haaland criticises referee on social media
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Man City 3-3 Tottenham: Erling Haaland criticises referee on social media

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has criticised referee Simon Hooper on social media over a controversial decision late in Sunday’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham.

The Norway forward was incensed with Hooper after being denied the opportunity to play an advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling Premier League match at Etihad Stadium.

Haaland was one of several City players to remonstrate with the official and he continued his protests after the game by reposting a clip of the incident on X, formerly Twitter, with the comment “Wtf”, which is offensive slang.

The incident that angered City happened when Haaland was fouled in the fifth minute of stoppage time, managing to regain his footing to swivel and send Jack Grealish clear.

Hooper initially appeared to acknowledge the infringement and wave play on, but then blew his whistle to pull play back for a City free-kick.

The decision brought protests from the City players and criticism from pundits.

“I think it is an absolute shocker. I really do,” said Jermaine Jenas on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2.

“I’m not sure what Simon Hooper is thinking. It’s clearly a mistake but it is a monster of a mistake in my opinion.”

His fellow former England midfielder Leon Osman said: “It’s a huge mistake – there is no getting away from that with the technology we have but I have a slight bit of sympathy. He held his hands up straight away.

“But this one mistake is all that people will want to talk about.”

Man City 3-3 Tottenham: Erling Haaland criticises referee on social media
Man City 3-3 Tottenham: Erling Haaland criticises referee on social media

“The problem I have is that we’ve had so many situations where play is allowed to go on,” said former City defender Micah Richards on Sky Sports.

“If you’re in doubt, just leave the play to go on and you can always bring it back. That’s why City will feel aggrieved.”

While fellow pundit Jamie Carragher said the referee “just panicked”, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane added: “It’s a poor call.”

‘I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment’

Having reacted angrily at the time of the decision, City players and staff again surrounded the referee at full-time to argue their case, with Haaland particularly animated.

Manager Pep Guardiola had managed to regain his composure by the time he spoke to the media.

When asked about the incident by Sky Sports, he said: “Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment.”

Having already decided he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the Arsenal boss in provoking a Football Association charge, he was a little more candid in his Match of the Day interview.

“Sometimes I lose my mind about the referees, but here no. Always people can make mistakes,” he said.

“It surprised me for the fact that he went to whistle when Erling went down, but after he stood back up and made the pass, the referee made the gesture to play on. But then when the ball goes to Jack, then [came] the whistle.”

When later asked specifically about Haaland’s response after the final whistle, Guardiola said “it’s normal” and “his reaction was the same for the other 10 players”.

“He’s a little bit disappointed,” he added. “Even the referee – if he played for Manchester City today, he would be disappointed for that action, that’s for sure.

“But I would say we didn’t draw for that.”

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou was unperturbed, saying “it doesn’t affect me at all”.

The Australian added: “I don’t think that is the story of the game today, there are better storylines from that fantastic game of football than one refereeing decision.”

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