Here is the reason why Bukayo Saka was not awarded a penalty against Bayern Munich

April 10, 2024

After a collision with Manuel Neuer, Bukayo Saka went down, depriving Arsenal of a last-minute penalty against Bayern Munich. The Gunners believed they were unlucky not to have a spot kick to end the game and were hoping to take a 3-2 lead into the second leg of the quarterfinal encounter.

After Bukayo Saka took a touch within the Bayern area and struck Neuer while attempting to recover the ball, Ally McCoist initially believed that Saka had been fouled. However, after viewing a replay, he changed his mind. “I am telling you now that I thought it was a penalty.”

“Here we see it, does he [Neuer] catch him? I’ll tell you what he does do, he [Saka] throws his foot in. He certainly catches him, but the wee fella throws his foot in. You know something, the referee might just have got that one correct because I don’t think Saka needs to throw his right leg into him.”

The referee appeared to mouth to the players that the decision had been checked, leading many to mistakenly believe that VAR had reviewed it. But during the TNT Sports debate, the punditry team cast doubt on the verdict, raising concerns about whether the officials had conducted a thorough investigation into the incident. Several Arsenal players crowded the referee during full time, expressing their anger with the call.

Speaking afterwards, Martin Keown expressed his shock at the outcome not favoring his old side.

 “Wow. I thought it was a penalty. I thought the referee had a good game.

“There is a suspicion that Saka puts his foot towards the ball, but the movement from the goalkeeper, Neuer is actually going towards that ball and comes out and makes the challenge. For me that is a penalty all day long.”

On the other hand, Rio Frdinand also believed it was a penalty saying that:-

 “How has that not been given?” he said. “I can’t believe it with VAR and everything. I can’t believe that has not been given.

“That man in your picture [Neuer], has got a life there. Saka today, I thought was the most dangerous player for Arsenal. He is running through there, that is a penalty. I’m in the stadium, I can’t believe it and I am walking around in disbelief with my hands on top of my head.”

Meanwhile, Keown further said that :-  “It’s movement towards the ball. If there were 10 top European referees here tonight, nine of them would have given and this referee is the only one who has not given it. I find it quite alarming that he has not given that penalty. You see that movement towards the ball there, that is enough to give that penalty for me.”

This saw Ferdinand reply that :- “I thought they had to send him to look at it. His actual position there when he is watching it, he’s crouched down, looking directly at it, and then they don’t even send him to go and have a look at it. It is such a big decision in a game like this, so much riding on it.”

Leandro Trossard, who scored the equalizer in the second half, agreed that the referee made a mistake in calling the play. “On the pitch it looked like a penalty to me,” he stated. “I haven’t seen the replay but for me, it looked like there was clear contact but I will have to wait until after to see it again.”

“Given the performance of the referee today, I would have not been surprised if he whistled for it,” expressed Tuchel’s frustration with the ruling. However, Arteta downplayed it and diverted attention from the situation. After the game, he said, “I haven’t seen it.” “A choice has been made. That is something we cannot alter. Tonight, we could have performed much better.”

Next week, when Arsenal visits Munich, they will have an opportunity to reply, with the score tied on aggregate. Prior to strikes from Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane turning the tide for the visitors, Bukayo Saka had given Mikel Arteta’s team the ideal start to the match.

After Gabriel Jesus‘ brilliant performance, Trossard got his team back on track, with the replacement making a huge impact.