Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferguson Queries 'Penalty' Decision; Sir Alex Speaks after Cup Exit Manchester United 0 Everton 0 (after Extra Time; Everton Win 4-2 on Penalties)

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ferguson Queries 'Penalty' Decision; Sir Alex Speaks after Cup Exit Manchester United 0 Everton 0 (after Extra Time; Everton Win 4-2 on Penalties)

Article excerpt

SIR Alex Ferguson, the master of the mind games, believes he could have lost his first FA Cup semi-final because of a seed of doubt planted by Everton manager David Moyes in the brain of referee Mike Riley.

The Manchester United boss saw his makeshift side of youngsters lose a dramatic penalty shoot-out after battling to a goalless draw after extra time against Everton at Wembley.

But Ferguson was left pondering whether Riley denied United what appeared to be a certain penalty in the 69th minute when Danny Welbeck was brought down by Phil Jagielka because of remarks made earlier in the week by Moyes. When told Riley was a United supporter by reporters, Moyes had dodged the issue, saying: "If that's true, why don't you ask the FA?"

Ferguson believes it could have been a factor. "I think it might have been," Ferguson said. "I'm not saying that for certain. I've no idea if it affected the decision but you never know. It may have..

It can prey on a referee's mind. I've seen the video and it looks a penalty kick but in the importance of the game, the referee probably has to be dead sure.

"Why would he (Welbeck) go down when he had the goalkeeper stranded out of his goal? It was a major decision and unfortunately it has gone against us.

Nothing you can do about it. We have to move on now.

"When he (Riley) sees it, he'll probably realise he's made a mistake but I can't say that's the reason for us losing." The incident saw a furious Ferguson storm on to the pitch, arms waving wildly as he ranted at Riley. It also brought an honest appraisal from Moyes, who admitted: "I thought it looked a penalty kick. If I had been the manager, I would have been calling for a penalty kick." It was a match of few chances which was settled when former United goalkeeper Tim Howard saved from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand in the shootout, while Leighton Baines, Phil Neville, James Vaughan and Jagielka all scored for Everton after Tim Cahill had ballooned the first spot kick over the crossbar. …

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