Gary McAllister has criticised Junior Firpo for the terrible decision to put his hand up in the air for the second penalty Leeds United gave away in their draw with Newcastle on Saturday.
McAllister was speaking on BT Sport (broadcast on 13/5; 14:29) after Leeds fought back to earn a point against the Magpies at Elland Road.
It was certainly a game full of events and drama. Unfortunately for Sam Allardyce, Leeds shot themselves in the foot on a number of occasions.
The Whites opened the scoring through Luke Ayling. And they had an ideal opportunity to double their lead when Junior Firpo was brought down inside the penalty area. However, Patrick Bamford’s poor effort was saved quite comfortably by Nick Pope.
McAllister criticises Junior Firpo after Leeds draw
Max Wober then gave away a penalty with a wild challenge. And Callum Wilson showed Bamford how to take a proper spot-kick. Unfortunately, he got another opportunity in the second-half after a moment of madness from Firpo.
A cross into the box found its way onto the head of Alexander Isak, who put his attempt wide. However, the Swede made a frantic run to the referee to immediately plead that there had been a handball.
Isak was so convinced that it was hard to not fear the worst. And replays showed that Firpo had indeed brushed the ball with his fingers just before it reached Isak.
The left-back’s only defence was that he had received a push from the Newcastle striker. But with the defender falling backwards, it was hard to make that case.
Certainly, McAllister was extremely critical of the 26-year-old for the error.
“I think Leeds were praying for the push,” he told BT Sport. “That’s why when he went to the screen to give it a second look, but there wasn’t enough there to suggest that. His hand’s in a terrible position. And that’s a desperate and wrong decision. That’s what’s caught him out.”
The day went from bad to worse for Firpo. He was fortunate to not receive a second yellow for the handball. But he was indeed sent off before the end after bringing down Anthony Gordon on the edge of the box.
It was certainly a reminder of how poor Firpo has been for much of his Leeds spell. He made a number of costly errors.
His first yellow card came following a wild challenge on Bruno Guimaraes. And had more contact been made, he could have easily been sent off.
A red card after the handball would have made Leeds’ task a lot harder. It is hard to imagine Rasmus Kristensen getting the opportunity to equalise if the club were playing with 10 men for those remaining minutes.
It is sad to say, but it is probably not a terrible thing that Firpo will now miss the game against West Ham.