Palace fans left seething over decision to penalise Ward for handball

‘VAR and the handball rule is a total farce and has ruined football’: Crystal Palace fans left seething over decision to penalise Joel Ward for handball as Richarlison scores resulting spot kick in defeat by Everton

  • Everton were awarded a controversial penalty in 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace
  • Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot after the ball struck Joel Ward’s arm
  • Ward was standing just two yards away from Lucas Digne when he handled
  • Palace defender’s left arm was also held in a natural position at time of impact
  • Richarlison netted the penalty to complete the scoring at Selhurst Park 

Crystal Palace fans reacted furiously on social media after Everton were awarded a controversial penalty in their 2-1 away victory at Selhurst Park. 

The two teams were level at 1-1 when Lucas Digne’s headed knockdown struck Palace defender Joel Ward on his left arm, which was held in a natural position by his side. 

The Palace defender was stood just two yards away from Digne when he inadvertently handled the ball, but referee Kevin Friend decided to point to the spot after a lengthy VAR review.

Joel Ward was controversially penalised for handball in Crystal Palace’s 2-1 defeat by Everton

The ball struck Ward on the arm in the penalty area after Lucas Digne’s headed knockdown

Richarlison held his nerve from the spot and emphatically restored Everton’s lead, completing the scoring as the Toffees secured their third successive win this term.

One disgruntled Palace fan tweeted: ‘VAR and the handball rule is a total farce and has ruined football.’

Meanwhile, Match of the Day host and former Everton striker Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Another utterly absurd handball penalty given. Ridiculous.’

Referee Kevin Friend awarded a penalty to Everton after a lengthy VAR review

Richarlison scored emphatically from the spot to giver Everton a 2-1 lead at Selhurst Park

Richarlison celebrates scoring the decisive goal and securing Everton’s third successive win

He continued: ‘It’s bizarre how referees and VAR referees are getting these decisions so horrendously wrong. I can only presume it’s because previously never had the chance to see replays in super slow motion. 

‘Important to watch things in normal time too. Different perception entirely.’ 

Former England women’s international Eni Aluko was also left dismayed by the decision, adding: ‘I never thought I’d say this as a striker but I feel sorry for defenders. 

‘I’m not sure what they’re meant to do. I get a bit confused, it’s not outside of his body line, he’s not leant towards the ball but it’s given.’

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates after giving Everton the lead after 10 minutes

Cheikhou Kouyate’s free header had dragged Palace level midway through the first half

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his fifth goal of the season to give Everton the lead on 10 minutes, following intelligent play from James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman.

Cheikhou Kouyate’s free header drew Palace level on 26 minutes, but the hosts were unable to strike back after Richarlison scored from 12 yards.

The Toffees now sit top of the embryonic Premier League table following wins over Tottenham, West Brom and Crystal Palace. 

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