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03rd Dec 2023

Roy Keane settles Simon Hooper argument as Man City rage at late call

Patrick McCarry

Erling Haaland

The Manchester City striker was fuming.

Erling Haaland unleashed a verbal volley at referee Simon Hooper before storming down the tunnel at Etihad Stadium. Roy Keane could see where he was coming from.

Haaland was not the only Manchester City player who surrounded the referee after the final whistle in a pulsating 3-3 draw between their side and a game Tottenham.

City trailed 1-0 to a Son Heung-min goal before the same player headed into his own net and Phil Foden stroked home for the home side. Giovani Lo Celso made it 2-2 with a fine strike, in the second half, but Jack Grealish looked to have won it for City when he scored in the 81st minute.

Tottenham piled forward, though, and were rewarded when Dejan Kulusevski climbed higher than Nathan Ake to force a Brennan Johnson cross home, off the underside of the City crossbar.

There looked time for a winner, still, but Hooper drew the ire of the City players, bench and fans after blowing up for a foul on Haaland when the home side wanted him to allow the advantage. A ball was played through and Jack Grealish was one-on-one with Gugliermo Vicario, only for the referee to whistle late for the initial foul on Haaland:

Erling Haaland rages at referee

On BBC Five Live, former Manchester United and Aston Villa forward Dion Dublin described the match as “absolutely brilliant”.

“Simon Hooper unfortunately making what could have been a massive mistake, Grealish one on one with the keeper and pulling play back,” said Dublin. “Both of these teams have got to be proud of themselves, great football, great finishes, great game.”

Over on Sky Sports, Roy Keane agreed with his former United teammate’s take. Keane believed City had been hard done-by.

“It’s a poor call, he’s got it wrong, obviously. Jack Grealish is through on goal and he did play the advantage (initially). We were praising him for that then, for some reason, he blew his whistle. He’s definitely got that wrong, and we can all see that.”

Others were more blunt that Dublin, on social media, calling the decision by Hooper “disgraceful” and claiming the official prevented a great goalscoring chance for Grealish.

Erling Haaland was livid as his teammates berated Hooper for him calling back play for the foul. At full-time, he shook hands with the ref and both linesmen before turning to shout some choice words in Hooper’s direction.

The Norwegian stormed off the pitch and headed down the tunnel, just as City boss Pep Guardiola was trading barbs with several players from the Tottenham bench. Haaland then took to Twitter to comment ‘WTF’ above a clip of the crucial end-game moment:

The result sees City left in third place, a point behind Liverpool and three off leaders Arsenal.

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