LONDON - Everton manager David Moyes and Manchester United's Alex Ferguson agreed that United should have been awarded a penalty during their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday. The 68th-minute incident was the major talking point of a tense semi-final which ended in a 4-2 shootout victory for Everton after a goalless 120 minutes of open play. Everton's England defender Phil Jagielka appeared to clatter into United winger Danny Welbeck inside the area with Everton keeper Tim Howard also rushing out. But despite vociferous appeals from United, referee Mike Riley ruled there was no infringement. "I have seen the video and it looks a penalty kick to me but because of the importance of the game the referee had to be sure," Ferguson told a news conference. "But why would he (Welbeck) go down otherwise? It was a major decision and unfortunately it went against us." Riley's impartiality was called into question this week when Moyes said he had been told that the referee was a United fan and Moyes said he was expecting the worst. "I thought it was a penalty kick too and if I'd have been the United manager I'd have been shouting for a penalty kick," he said. Ferguson raged for several seconds but in the end was philosophical about the defeat, his first in an FA Cup semi-final with United who had not lost at this stage of the competition since 1970. EIGHT CHANGES He also justified making eight changes from the side that beat Porto to reach the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, fielding a largely reserve team. "When I saw the state of the pitch yesterday I did not want to risk going into extra time with my strongest squad and had to make a bold decision of playing the younger ones," Ferguson said. "This club has been built on giving opportunities to youngsters and I have no doubt it was the right choice. "It is disappointing when you have to lose a semi-final -- I haven't lost one before now -- but at least I know these youngsters can play in any game. They were fantastic and that is a big plus point." Moyes, who has led Everton to their first FA Cup final since they beat Manchester United in 1995, said it was the biggest day of his managerial career. "Partly because it was at Wembley, partly because we were playing Manchester United and partly because Everton haven't been there for so long it was the biggest match of my career so far. "We are building success at this club and we want more of these kind of big days," he added. It was only Everton's second victory over United in 30 matches since the 1995 final.
19 April 2009
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