Howard Webb has revealed that he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to miss a penalty for Manchester United against Tottenham Hotspur in 2009, after an erroneous decision from him saw the Red Devils being awarded a controversial penalty.
United were trailing 2-0 behind Tottenham in the game, when Webb wrongly pointed to the spot after it appeared to him that Michael Carrick had been brought down by the goalkeeper inside the box. However, replays showed that the Spurs’ shot-stoper had palmed the ball away first.
Recalling that moment to The Athletic [via talkSport], Webb said, “I could see Carrick got there first and then the goalkeeper clattered into him. It was really an easy penalty award. I was expecting the usual cursory appeal that you get from the players, not the huge look of absolute astonishment and amazement and incredulousness on the look of Gomes.”
Understanding he had got the decision wrong, Webb confessed he wanted Ronaldo to miss the penalty. “It was obvious within seconds I’d got the decision wrong. There was something more to this.”
“I was left with the decision I had taken with no independent evidence that I’d got it wrong other than a gut feeling, and I was just hoping that [Cristiano] Ronaldo would miss the penalty. But he didn’t.” Webb revealed.
That goal proved to be crucial as United would go on to win the game 5-2, mounting an improbable comeback. The Red Devils would also go on to clinch the Premier League title that season, with 90 points, four more than second-placed Liverpool.