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Opinions split over Manchester United’s last-gasp penalty against PSG

Leading players and referees are split over the last-gasp penalty award which sent Manchester United through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Marcus Rashford slammed home the spot-kick after Paris St Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe was adjudged to have handled a speculative Diogo Dalot shot.

Former Premier League official Peter Walton insisted there was no doubt over the verdict, but Mark Clattenberg maintained it would not have been awarded in the domestic competition.

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Walton told BT Sport: “We called it straight away – the way Kimpembe has gone up there he’s left his arm out, he’s turned his back and he’s taken no responsibility for the way the ball has struck him.

“It’s a huge decision and that’s exactly why VAR has been brought in. As the law is written at the moment, that’s handball.”

Last month UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti stressed the need for speed over accuracy in adjudicating VAR decisions in the wake of Manchester City’s controversial game at Schalke.

Denis Skomina

Referee Denis Skomina awarded Manchester United a late penalty in Paris (John Walton/PA)

City won 3-2 despite the awarding of two penalties in a 10-minute period in which technical issues were affecting the video playback.

And Clattenburg appeared to suggest the decision to penalise Kimpembe was an indirect result of Rosetti’s intervention following the Schalke issues – and would not have been made in the Premier League.

Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail: “Let’s be clear, referee Damir Skomina applied the laws as UEFA wish them to be in awarding Manchester United their late penalty in Paris.

Mark Clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg says Manchester United should not have been awarded a late penalty (Nick Potts/PA)

“But PSG will be furious, and I understand why. This, for me, should not have been a penalty as Presnel Kimpembe did not deliberately handle the ball.

“This would never be given as a penalty in the Premier League, but it was given in the Champions League because of UEFA’s recent instruction to referees.”

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand expressed his delight at Rashford’s late strike – but agreed that the penalty should not have been awarded.

Ferdinand told BT Sport: “It’s like if you’re coming out as a defender you have to have your hands behind your back to make certain it’s not going to be a penalty.

“I don’t understand that – which player can come out and have balance with their hands behind their back or immediately down by their side? The law is wrong.”

And former England team-mate Owen Hargreaves added: “Every football person will say it’s not a penalty. It’s hard for players – what do you do in that situation? Where do you go with your arms?”