Newcastle didn't get rub of the green: Benitez

LONDON • Manager Rafa Benitez said that his Newcastle United side not only deserved a draw at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday, but were denied one by a goal that should have been disallowed.

Before Tomer Hemed scored his 51st-minute winner, home captain Bruno appeared to impede Chancel Mbemba in the build-up.

"The goal, for me, was a foul, it's a blocking movement," the Spaniard said after the Magpies slipped to ninth as their three-match winning streak came to an end.

"He's (Bruno) pushing and blocking. And it's so clear, but you cannot change the decision.

"I feel like we did enough to get a point at least."

Midfielder Dale Stephens, whose header across goal from a Brighton free kick set up Hemed to score, admitted there was a blocking move involved in the set-piece routine.

"I'm glad it paid off. We change the blocker each time," he said. "We're playing against a team who are flying, which makes it sweeter."

The victory was particularly sweet for Brighton players who remember being denied winners' medals by Newcastle.

Winning away to Brighton last February with two goals in the final 10 minutes helped Newcastle pip the south coast club to the Championship title by one point.

"If everyone can remember the game here with Newcastle last season, it's a shame we didn't win," said Hemed, whose goal lifted Brighton to 13th on seven points. "This win can give us a push for the next games. We deserve it."

Despite his fine display, the Israeli striker was criticised by Sky Sports pundits for an apparent stamp on DeAndre Yedlin just before the end.

"I thought he was the man of the match today, but for me, he's had a good look and he knows exactly what he's doing," said former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry believes that Hemed could face retrospective action from the Football Association.

"I think he's had a look at him there. He doesn't have to put his foot there," he said. "If anyone reviews it, he will be a massive loss for this football club."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'Newcastle didn't get rub of the green: Benitez'. Print Edition | Subscribe