When Tottenham Hotspur took on Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday evening, few could have predicted the drama that was to come. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but it was only after a controversial penalty decision which saw referee Stuart Attwell controversially wave away appeals from the away side.
In the 70th minute with the score 1-1, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Kaoru Mitoma attempted to control a dropping ball inside the area following a corner routine. He appeared to be caught by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who was wearing his Tottenham Hotspur jersey, and went to ground. Despite vehement appeals for a penalty from Mitchell and his teammates, referee Attwell ignored them and waved play on.
The incident sparked an outburst of anger amongst the Brighton players and manager Graham Potter, who could be heard shouting angrily at Attwell as he walked off the pitch at full-time. Replays showed that Hojbjerg’s challenge had been clumsy and his arm had made contact with Mitoma’s chest; however, it was ultimately judged not to be enough for a penalty to be awarded. This would of course have major implications on how the match would end. Had Brighton been awarded the spot kick they were calling for, there is every chance they could have gone on to win the game 2-1; instead they had to settle for a hard fought draw against one of the top teams in England.
Hojbjerg has since stated that he believes referee Attwell made “the correct decision” in opting not to award a penalty citing that he felt contact between him and Mitoma “was not sufficient enough” In fact it appears that even some of Brighton’s own players did not think they should have got a spot kick either; however this hasn’t quelled their rage over what happened or stopped them from accusing Tottenham Hotspur of benefiting from significant officiating decisions this season. That being said, many pundits believe that there are lessons to be learned from this incident for both sides: for Brighton it is clear that if they continue pushing themselves further upfield then more chances will come their way; while for Spurs it may be wise for them to avoid relying too heavily on big decisions from officials going forward – even if so far these have worked in their favour more often than not!
Ultimately though both teams must accept that referees cannot get every single call right all the time – no matter how hard we try! That is part of what makes football such an exciting sport and why controversies such as these will always remain part of its ever evolving narrative.