Lehmann: I’ve never told anyone this, but 2004 North London derby penalty was wrong

Jens Lehmann

Jens Lehmann has told FourFourTwo that referee Mark Halsey was wrong to award Tottenham a penalty in the final minute of the heated 2003/04 clash. 

Lehmann was penalised for an incident with Robbie Keane in injury time, when Arsenal were leading 2-1 at White Hart Lane in their famous Invincibles campaign.

Despite Keane equalising from the spot, it wasn’t enough to deny rivals Arsenal confirming their famous title success with a point.

“I’ve never told anybody this before, but it wasn’t a foul,” the German explains to FFT in his At The End Of The Day video (below).

“When we played Spurs away and the referee gave a penalty in the last minute, I didn’t even touch Robbie Keane.”

It was Lehmann’s first season at the club after joining from Borussia Dortmund, and proved an immensely successful one as unbeaten Arsenal went down in Premier League history.

But although they won the FA Cup the following year, one of the goalkeeper’s regrets is that he didn’t win another Premier League title during his time in England.

In his second season at Highbury, Arsenal finished runners-up to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, who racked up a record 95 points.

Consecutive fourth-placed finishes followed, but Arsenal enjoyed a fine Champions League run as they reached the final in 2006.

Lehmann played an integral role as the Gunners saw off Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal in the knockout stages without conceding before they met Barcelona in the Paris final.

But after just 18 minutes, Lehmann was sent off after fouling Samuel Eto’o just outside the area. Robert Pires was the man sacrificed as Lehmann’s rival Manuel Almunia came on, before Barcelona came from behind to win 2-1.

“My one regret in football is… well, I have many. We should have won the Premier League with Arsenal two or three times,” says Lehmann.

“Probably I shouldn’t have come out to touch Eto’o in the Champions League final.”

The goalkeeper also earned 61 caps for Germany, ousting Oliver Kahn in time for the 2006 World Cup – hosted by his home nation.

Lehmann believes that Germany side could, and should, have won multiple major tournaments during his time in the team.

“The day football broke my heart was when we played in the semi-finals of our own World Cup at home,” the ex-Arsenal man says wistfully. “We conceded in the 120th minute against Italy and we were out.

“We should have won the World Cup and the European Cup with Germany more than once.”

Check out the full At The End Of The Day feature with Jens Lehmann – and many more exclusives – on FourFourTwo’s YouTube channel now

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