Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of diving to try and win a penalty against West Ham United.
The Red Devils beat the Hammers 2-1 at the London Stadium but, even after Jesse Lingard’s goal, the Portuguese was trying everything to get his side another.
His penalty box antics are never too far from discussion but this time, in an incident with Kurt Zouma, he didn’t get his own way.
As he dashed down the left side of the 18-yard box, Ronaldo went down under a challenge from the Frenchman and was left looking distraught when referee Martin Atkinson pointed for a goal-kick.
No amount of appealing helped Ronaldo and VAR didn’t come to his rescue either, with replays highlighting the player was already on his way to the floor before he was touched by the incoming former Chelsea man.
But former Tottenham star Jamie O’Hara and Rangers legend Ally McCoist had differing takes on the incident in east London.
“It’s a penalty,” said Scotsman McCoist amid O’Hara’s disbeliving cries. “It is a penalty.
“Zouma dived in. Your natural instinct as a player is to protect yourself. Zouma is late. It’s a rash challenge. It’s a penalty.”
His English sparring partner wasn’t having any of it, though.
O’Hara retorted: “The contact is there because he’s anticipated Zouma coming in. Just take the tackle. Zouma dives in. Take the tackle and then it’s a penalty. The fact that you go down before you feel the contact, you’re diving.
He continued: “That’s not a penalty. He’s running at pace. Yes, he’s pushed it past Zouma but if you look closely and watch from all angles, he’s already on his way down.
“He’s dived. He’s looking for the penalty.
“Yes, Zouma is late. If he pushes it past him and then just takes the contact, then it’s a penalty, but what annoys me with Ronaldo in that one is that he’s already looking for it.
“He knows he can’t get a shot off, he knows he can’t get to the ball to go past him and cut it back, so what he does is pushes it past him, sees that there is going to be a tackle and is already going over.”
It’s clear who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer agreed with, after the Manchester United manager said after the game Ronaldo was denied a ‘stonewall’ spot kick.
Ronaldo had three penalty appeals turned down by officials during the match, with Solskjaer saying the first and third definitely should have been given.
And the boss said he hopes referees won’t treat the superstar differently following his return to the Premier League, due to his reputation for going to ground.
“The first one and the third one, I think they are stonewall and you can’t even argue against them,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
“The first one, the lad puts his foot out and Cristiano runs straight.
“And why is Cristiano’s third appeal not a penalty? I hope it won’t be ‘Cristiano is never going to get a penalty’.”