Former Leeds United and Chelsea man slams ‘lucky' Newcastle United star after Wolves win
Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope escaped another red card against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Newcastle ultimately won the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Alexander Isak and Miguel Almiron while Hwang Hee-Chan scored for the visitors. But with the score at 0-0 in the first half, The Magpies and Pope avoided a potential disaster after the goalkeeper clashed with Wolves striker Raul Jimenez inside the penalty area.
Pope's heavy touch saw Jimenez pounce in an attempt to win the ball before going down under pressure from the Newcastle goalkeeper. But referee Andy Madley waved away the penalty appeals from the Wolves players and bench while VAR Tony Harrington refrained from intervening as supposedly no ‘clear and obvious error’ had been made.
Had the penalty been awarded, the game would have almost certainly unfolded very differently as Pope would have likely been sent off for the second home match running as he made no attempt to play the ball. The Newcastle goalkeeper would have been handed a four match ban after being sent off against Liverpool for handball outside of the area last month.
Pope and Newcastle certainly got away with one on Sunday afternoon as VAR may not have intervened had Madley opted to award the penalty.
And Sky Sports pundit Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink couldn’t believe a penalty wasn’t awarded, deeming Pope ‘extremely lucky’.
"For me Nick Pope is extremely lucky here,” said the former Leeds United and Chelsea striker. “Jimenez wins the ball and for me it's a penalty. I can't believe the referee hasn't given it, I can't believe VAR doesn't let the referee go and watch it again. How clear does it have to be that this is a penalty?”
Although Jimenez appeared to ‘sell’ the contact with Pope, Hasselbaink gave the Wolves forward the benefit of the doubt as he continued: "Why does the referee think Jimenez has gone down? Is it a dive then? If so he has to book Jimenez because why has he gone down?
"It doesn't matter what contact, if there is contact and he goes down it has to be a penalty because the ball is not close to them.”