(Reuters) - Referee Roger East has denied sending off the wrong Sunderland player during their 2-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester United on Saturday.
Wes Brown looked aghast when he was shown a red card after fellow former United defender John O‘Shea appeared to be the one to foul Radamel Falcao for a 66th-minute penalty dispatched by Wayne Rooney.
But England’s professional referees’ body issued a statement saying it was not a case of mistaken identity.
“From his position Roger East, the match referee, believed he saw contact between from John O‘Shea and Wes Brown on Radamel Falcao. As he thought Brown made a foul on Falcao while he was in the act of shooting, he dismissed Brown,” Professional Game Match Officials Limited said.
“After the incident the match referee consulted with his team of officials but none were better placed to offer guidance.”
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, whose side are three points above the drop zone, was still not convinced.
“We are human beings. I made a decision today. I didn’t change early enough to stop that penalty happening. That was my decision and I can make a mistake. So they need to accept that as well and not hide, because at the moment they’re hiding a little bit,” the Uruguayan said.
“The referee told the players there were two fouls, one committed by John O’Shea and one committed by Wes Brown. He gave the Wes Brown one, so that’s why he sent him off. Wes Brown didn’t touch anyone, so I don’t know what he saw.”
O‘Shea even appeared to tell the referee that he should be the one to be dismissed but to no avail.
The opening goal set United on course for yet another laboured victory, with Rooney adding a second after 84 minutes, as Louis van Gaal’s men moved up to third.
Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Ken Ferris