Newcastle United manager Rafael Benítez bemoaned the referee's decision to award a penalty to their opponents Crystal Palace, after the resulting spot-kick saw the Magpies throw away their first half lead and eventually draw 1-1 with the Eagles in Sunday's Premier League clash.
Speaking after the match, via Sky Sports, the former Liverpool manager bemoaned his side's inability to double their lead and put the game to bed, but also called the referee's decision to award a penalty to Crystal Palace for some shirt-tugging on Christian Benteke soft. Benítez said:
"Scoring the second goal could have changed everything. We didn't do it and we conceded what I would say is a soft penalty because he was pushing my player and my player was pulling.
5 - All five of Mohamed Diamé's league goals for Newcastle have come away from home. Excursion.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 4, 2018
"That changed everything because obviously they had more confidence and they were pushing and we know they have very good players up front.We had to be strong in defence and it was difficult. To come here and to get a point, before the game I would say no, but after the second half maybe."
"But I still feel in the first half we could have scored the second goal. The difference between the push and the pull? It's easy for the referee and the linesman to watch for that. It's something we have talked about in the past, but it has happened so we have to ensure it doesn't happen again in the future. We cannot do it, but I see a lot of penalties not given for us in every game."
The tightly-fought contest saw Newcastle take the lead midway through the first half, after four Crystal Palace defenders let Kennedy's corner fly past them - allowing an unmarked Mohamed Diamé to slot home from close-range. The Eagles were a changed side in the second half, and Luka Milivojević's penalty saw them draw level soon after the break.
Neither side was able to grab a winner, but Palace's second half performance consistently kept their opponents on the back-foot. The point sees Benítez's side remain in 16th place in the table, just one point clear of the dreaded relegation zone. With a match against Man Utd next weekend followed by a tough trip to Bournemouth, the pressure is mounting for the Magpies.