Football News

Gabriel handball: Thomas Tuchel blasts referee mistake in Arsenal vs Bayern Munich clash

By CJ Smith

Gabriel handball: Thomas Tuchel blasts referee mistake in Arsenal vs Bayern Munich clash

Published: 20:10, 10 April 2024

Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel has blasted referee Glenn Nyberg for failing to give his side a penalty in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal in their Champions League quarter-final first leg. 

The Bavarians should have been satisfied with their night’s work after leaving London all square, despite falling behind in the 12th minute as Bukayo Saka opened the scoring. Replies from Serge Gnabry and Harry Kane put Bayern 2-1 ahead before Leandro Trossard equalised in the 76th minute, but Bayern will now attempt to make the most of home advantage in the return leg.

However, it could have been so much better for Bayern, who were denied a penalty in the 67th. Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya played a short goal kick to Gabriel, who picked up the ball and then retook the kick himself, unaware that Nyberg had already whistled to indicate the restart of play. Bayern players fiercely protested for a penalty, but Nyberg dismissed their claims, much to the chagrin of Tuchel, who slammed the referee in his post-match press conference and revealed the bizarre explanation as to why no spot-kick was awarded.

“The referee made a huge mistake in not giving a penalty. I know it’s a crazy situation, but they put the ball down, he [the referee] whistles, he [the goalkeeper] gives the ball to the defender [Gabriel], who then takes the ball in his hands,” said Tuchel. “What makes us really angry was the explanation given on the field. He told our players that it’s a kid’s mistake and he will not give a penalty like this in a quarter-final.

“This is a horrible, horrible explanation because that means he is now judging handballs, whether it’s a kid’s or adult’s mistake. We feel angry because it’s a huge decision against us.”

Speaking as a pundit on TNT Sports, former Manchester United and England centre-back Rio Ferdinand was equally dumbfounded, insisting this was an even clearer penalty claim than the one Bukayo Saka saw turned down when he was brought to ground in the box by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“It’s a pen. Oh my gosh, how can that not be given? I was so adamant that Saka’s one was, I am even more for this. It’s unbelievable. How can he blow the whistle like that and not give that?” said Ferdinand.

Bayern Munich director of sport Max Eberl was just as angry as Tuchel, blasting Nyberg’s post-match explanation of the incident.

“So, the referee blows his whistle, the goalkeeper passes the ball to the defender, who takes it with his hand, that’s a penalty,” he said, adding: “And then the referee’s statement, well, he said I can’t give such a penalty in the quarter-finals. Excuse me. It’s not my fault, it’s not our fault.”

Nevertheless, Bayern Munich will now head into next week’s second leg as marginal favourites thanks to their home advantage, especially given Arsenal have lost 5-1 on each of their last two visits to the Allianz Arena.