Date:Sunday September 10 2006
Mark Hughes was left fuming as Blackburn Rovers were punished with yet another two penalties awarded against them in the game with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Fortunately the blushes of referee, Mike Dean and his assistant were spared as the excellent Brad Friedel saved both of the resulting penalty kicks. A mention must be given (as to not appear bias or one sided) to the Rovers penalty award, which was also a very soft decision for an alleged push by David Unsworth on Benni McCarthy.
When speaking on the official Blackburn Rovers website, on the first penalty awarded against Zurab Khizinashvilli for holding Rob Hulse Hughes would say:
"I have to say the decision against Zurab was very harsh, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other. It is hard to take to be fair, but in saying that the second one was even more hard to take."
In all fairness to Dean on this award he had warned Khizanishvili several times not to pull Hulse as their long running tussle continued, an early phase of play saw the pair cautioned. Brad Friedel would dive to his right to prevent defender Unsworth for this penalty.
When speaking on the second penalty decision (unbelievably given by an assistant who wouldn't have even been able to see the alleged incident) for a handball by captain Lucas Neill as he chested a harmless ball back to Friedel, Hughes would say:
"Lucas has followed the flight of the ball, controlled it on his chest and knocked it back to Brad, I think everyone was astounded when the penalty was given."
On this occasion the veteran American would dive to his left to deny striker Hulse, then saving Alan Quinn's follow up effort.
Hughes said that "the penalty decisions that we are having against us at the moment are really hurting us," also bemoaning the fact that those that are being awarded are not worthy of being deemed as such.
A 0-0 draw is not the result that most Rovers fans were looking for, or even expected but Sparky can take some comfort from the fact that Rovers came away with even a point as Sheffield United will very much feel that they should have won.
When summing up the game Hughes would finish by saying:
"We've got to be reasonably happy, we've come out of this game having conceded two penalties and still got a point out of it, on another day we would have lost this game."
"But I think if we had have scored first in this game then we would have gone on and won quite comfortably, I think of the football played we were certainly the better side today, we tried to create, tried to get passing options."
Hopefully the UEFA Cup tie with Salzburg on Thursday night can bring a change in fortunes for Rovers, although the trip to Austria will prove a very tough encounter.
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Date:Sunday September 10 2006
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