Arsenal 2-2 Bayern Munich: Both sides controversially denied penalties in Champions League draw

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Bukayo Saka appeared to be denied a penalty in the final few seconds of Tuesday’s game

It was honours even on a memorable night of Champions League action at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday as Arsenal’s quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich ended 2-2 – but can both sides feel aggrieved at having penalty shouts go against them?

The Gunners had fought back from 2-1 down to level through substitute Leandro Trossard but, deep in stoppage time, Bukayo Saka went down under Manuel Neuer’s challenge inside the box.

The home fans screamed for a penalty but all appeals were waved away by referee Glenn Nyberg, who blew the final whistle soon after to a chorus of boos.

“It looked like a penalty to me, it looked like clear contact,” Trossard told TNT Sports.

Former Tottenham striker Harry Kane scored a penalty in the first half to put Bayern ahead, but manager Thomas Tuchel revealed after the game that he felt his side should have been awarded another spot-kick.

It related to a bizarre incident in which he felt Gabriel handled the ball after an Arsenal goal-kick had been taken.

“The referee did not have the courage today to give us a deserved penalty, in a bit of a crazy and awkward situation,” he said.

“What makes us really angry is the explanation on the field. He told our players that it’s a kid’s mistake and he will not give a penalty like this in a quarter-final.”

So who should feel the most aggrieved?

‘Disbelief’ Arsenal did not get a penalty

Deep in stoppage time, Saka looked set to win the quarter-final first leg in dramatic fashion as he raced into the box and sidestepped the onrushing Neuer, but he went down after contact with the Bayern Munich goalkeeper’s right leg.

The Arsenal forward got up expecting to be awarded a spot-kick but was instead left incensed that the referee waved play on, with the video assistant referee (VAR) also not intervening.

Saka looked set to round Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but there was contact…

Saka fell to the ground as his Arsenal team-mates pleaded for a penalty

The decision not to award a penalty left TNT Sports pundits Rio Ferdinand and Martin Keown in disbelief.

“How has that not been given?” said ex-Manchester United defender Ferdinand. “I can’t believe, with VAR and everything, that’s not been given.

“He’s running through and that’s a penalty. I’m in the stadium and I can’t believe it – I’m walking around in disbelief with my hands on top of my head.”

Former Arsenal defender Keown added: “If you had 10 top European referees here tonight, nine of them would’ve given it. This referee is the only one who hasn’t given it – I find it quite alarming he’s not given that penalty.

“Neuer’s movement towards the ball… that’s enough to give it.”

But not everyone agreed.

Former Arsenal centre-back Matthew Upson told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think it was the correct call not to award a penalty in the end.

“On first instinct you think it has to be given, but having looked at a replay it looks like Bukayo Saka has initiated the contact. Manuel Neuer puts the brakes on as he rushes out and Saka almost kicks him in the end.

“A really good call from the referee under incredible pressure.”

Ex-Manchester City midfielder Michael Brown said: “We’ve got to say on this occasion it is not a penalty.

“I like what he [Saka] does and how he is as a player but he has tried to engineer the decision on this one. His leg comes out in an unnatural position, it is not in his natural stride.”

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta chose to stay out of the debate, saying: “They said they checked it and decided it was not a penalty.”

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