Wednesday 18 October 2017

Gary Neville's prediction comes true as Matt Ritchie escapes red card for same high-boot challenge as Sadio Mane

Callum Davis

Gary Neville's assertion that Sadio Mane's controversial sending off had opened a can of worms for referees was proved correct on Sunday afternoon as Matt Ritchie escaped a red card for an almost identical challenge.

Mane was shown a straight red after his high boot struck Ederson in the face during Liverpool's 5-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad.

Gary Neville, who was commentating on the match for Sky Sports, was adamant the challenge did not warrant a red card.

After the game he tweeted that the incident would create future confusion for referees trying to apply the letter of the law consistently around high-footed challenges.

"The red yesterday irrespective of which view you have will result in total confusion in the coming weeks and months on high boot challenges," he tweeted on Sunday morning.

Less than 10 hours after he made the prediction, Newcastle's Matt Ritchie collided with Alfie Mawson in an almost identical incident.

Ritchie was quick to insist he only had eyes for the ball and was given a yellow card by referee Mike Jones.

Neville replied to a replay of the incident, writing: "Excessive force , endangering a player !! Red apparently!"

The former Manchester United defender was one of the few commentators who disagreed with Jon Moss' decision to give Mane his marching orders.

"It's a 50-50 really and Ederson just gets there first. Sometimes a stadium can tell you if it's a bad challenge and there wasn't great reaction from anybody," Neville said on Sky Sports.

"I don't think that is a red card," said Neville, as replays of the incident were shown. "His eyes are on the ball, it's ridiculous. He wins that challenge, the goal is there for him.

"It wasn't one of those where you think the goalkeeper is the favourite. He does well to get out, and his foot is high."

Matt Ritchie admitted he was fortunate to get away with a yellow card after being quizzed on the challenge by Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves.

"I had visions of Match of the Day from last night!" Ritchie joked.

than the one last night, so I was lucky.

"I was delighted it was a yellow card, to be honest."

Alan Pardew and Jamie Redknapp both admitted their was little difference in the two incident in their analysis of the incident.

"I actually think that's worse than yesterday," said Pardew. "To be fair no one's made a big deal out of it."

Jurgen Klopp yesterday revealed Liverpool would not be appealing Mane's dismissal, calling it "a waste of time."

Telegraph.co.uk

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport