Leeds United winger Ezgjan Alioski has been criticised by BBC Sport pundit Danny Murphy, who claimed the Whites man’s reaction to being headbutted by Nicolas Pepe in Sunday’s Premier League clash was “unacceptable”.
During the game between Leeds and Arsenal at Elland Road, the Gunners man confronted Alioski and pushed his head into his opponent’s forehead, the Whites man subsequently going to ground in the off-the-ball incident.
Referee Anthony Taylor blew his whistle to stop play after not seeing the incident live, but after taking a look at the VAR monitor, he showed Pepe a red card.
Speaking on Match of the Day 2, Murphy felt that the Leeds man – playing at left-back – had deliberately made a meal out of the incident in order to try and get the Arsenal man sent off.
“He [Pepe] has let himself down and let the team down, it’s unacceptable,” said Murphy.
“But what is also unacceptable is Alioski’s response. Going over when he didn’t have to, that wasn’t enough to put him on his back. Too often now we see players trying to stitch up others.
“I know you’ll get players saying that’s normal now, that’s not normal to me. It’s not the way I grew up, it’s not the way I played the game, and that’s why Tierney, an honest lad, is fuming.”
Murphy is not the only pundit to slate Alioski for his reaction to Pepe making contact with him – Patrice Evra said on Sky Sports – as quoted by the Daily Mail – that the North Macedonian “deserves an Oscar”.
However, it’s irrelevant how much contact is made and whether people think there’s been an overreaction – you cannot move your head towards, and make contact with, another player’s head. If you do, it’s a sending off for violent conduct.
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