‘Silly foul’ - Pundits back United penalty decision against Canaries

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal from the penalty spot d

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring the decisive penalty for Manchester United at Carrow Road - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

There was little sympathy for Norwich City about the decisive penalty conceded by Max Aarons against Manchester United. 

Cristiano Ronaldo screamed out as he collapsed to the floor in the 74th minute, with City’s right-back unnecessarily putting his hands on the Portugal superstar’s neck as they chased after a cross into the box. 

Darren England pointed to the spot and VAR backed the referee’s decision, with Ronaldo dusting himself down to send Tim Krul the wrong way from the spot and earn the visitors a 1-0 win. 

Former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown was in the Match of the Day studio and said: “I do feel Max Aarons has brought down Ronaldo. The ball is sailing over him but he (Aarons) has just panicked, he’s got the wrong side of him. 

“Then of course he (Ronaldo) puts it away comfortably but Aarons has just panicked in that situation and it’s cost Norwich.” 

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer added: “He’s got some leap on him, Ronaldo, but he’s not getting that at all, so it’s a silly foul.” 

That sentiment was echoed by former Canaries striker Dion Dublin in the Sky Sports studio, who felt five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo showed all of his experience to make the most of the situation. 

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“Ronaldo is the best in the world at a lot of things, let’s get it right,” said Dublin. “If he feels a touch on his shoulder, knowing full well that he has gone across the man and the ball has not gone in front so he’s trying to change to get in behind. 

“If he feels anything he’s going to go down and unfortunately Max Aarons has panicked and he has pulled him back. It is a penalty.”


There was praise for City’s overall performance though, with former England striker Shearer highlighting the importance of David De Gea’s saves to deny Teemu Pukki and Ozan Kabak. 

“I’ve got to say, Norwich played really well, deserved something out of the game,” he also said on Match of the Day. “They got through Man United so many times, with ease in fact. 

“David De Gea was again the best player for Man Utd, that’s a superb save (from Pukki’s shot). 

“A bit unlucky and that’s Norwich’s problem, only eight goals in 16 games this season, five from Pukki, so that’s going to have to change if they want to stay in this division.” 

It was a second successive Premier League victory for United since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival but Red Devils legend Gary Neville was less than complimentary of the visitors’ display. 

“It was Norwich’s lack of quality that Manchester United kept a clean sheet on,” Neville told Sky Sports. “Last week against Crystal Palace, Palace had one moment in the game and it was a really confident defensive performance. 

“There was a good structure to them, they prevented chances, they sustained attacks and stopped counter-attacks. 

“Today, I thought any other team in the league, that had more about them in terms of quality, would have cut through Manchester United. 

“There were spaces there in wide areas and even in the second half they were getting through the middle of them, Norwich just didn’t have the ruthlessness or the final piece to finish United off. 

“So I think it was a clean sheet by the fact that the goalkeeper has made a few saves and the team that they were playing against are the worst in the league in an attacking sense.” 

- You can listen to the verdict of our Canaries correspondents in the latest episode of the Pink Un Podcast, in the audio player above

NCFC Extra: Download the Pink Un+ app here