Man Utd controversy as midfielder avoids ‘100 per-cent’ red card ahead of Newcastle United final

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There was a moment of controversy in Sunday’s meeting between Manchester United and Leicester City.

Former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness believes Manchester United star Marcel Sabitzer was fortunate to avoid a red card in Sunday’s Premier League clash with Leicester City that would have ruled him out of next weekend’s Carabao Cup Final.

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The on-loan Bayern Munich defender was involved in a dangerous looking challenge on Foxes defender Wout Faes that avoided any punishment from referee Stuart Attwell. Former Red Devils defender Gary Neville was on co-commentary duties for Sky Sports and he claimed the Austrian international deserved a yellow card - although claimed VAR may well have upgraded it to a red if he had ‘followed through’ with the challenge.

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“The ball just breaks free, (it’s) not great, he (Sabitzer) goes in high and then pulls away,” explained the former England full-back.

“It’s not a pretty one. I think it would have been a yellow, it should have been a yellow. I think VAR would have given him a red if he had followed through at that high. It would be deemed as a kick rather than what would be over the top and follow through, which would have broken his leg. It’s certainly a high challenge, he sort of snaps in and pulls away and I think that’s what saves him. He pulls it back.”

However, former Magpies manager Souness believes there was no doubt Sabitzer should have been given a more stern punishment by Attwell without needing to send the decision to the video assistant referee.

He said: “For a start, he’s partly to blame because he’s on his heels when this ball breaks and he’s not alive to it. Sabitzer has turned side on to him and that’s a classic case of if you’re going to do something that’s how you’re going to do it. If he’s going to make contact with the ball, what’s he going to do with it. He’s looking for the player. I don’t care what some referee who has never played the game wants to say on that, it’s a sending-off, it’s dangerous play.

“If that’s not dangerous play, I don’t know what is. Ask any professional footballer, he’s turned side on, that’s a classic case setting yourself up to do someone.”

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