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31st Mar 2018

Football fans can’t believe how Sadio Mane escaped a sending off against Crystal Palace

'Utterly dreadful, gutless refereeing'

Simon Lloyd

Sadio Mane, we can safely say, had an eventful afternoon at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

With his Liverpool side already trailing Crystal Palace thanks to a Luka Milivojević penalty, the Senegalese international was given a yellow card after referee Neil Swarbrick deemed him to have dived in a attempt to win a spot kick at the other end. As a result, Mane’s every touch was booed by the Palace supporters for the remainder of the first half.

Things took a turn for the better shortly after half-time, when he was able to guide James Milner’s drilled cross home from close range for Liverpool’s equaliser.

Then, with Christian Benteke’s appalling wastefulness threatening to steal the headlines, Mane somehow escaped a second yellow card.

Having gone down on the edge of his own penalty area, the former Southampton forward clearly stopped the ball with his hand, expecting to receive a free-kick. Swarbrick did indeed award a free-kick, only against him for handball.

Despite this, the official decided not to card him for deliberate handball – a booking which would have been a second yellow – much the bemusement of those watching.

Palace’s free-kick amounted to nothing and Jurgen Klopp decided to substitute Mane shortly afterwards.