'Embarrassing' - Leeds United's Stuart Dallas blasts officiating blunder involving former club

Leeds United midfielder Stuart Dallas has described an officiating blunder involving his former club Crusaders as 'embarrassing.'

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:34 pm
FORMER CLUB - Leeds United star Stuart Dallas played for Crusaders for two years from 2010, before a move to Brentford
FORMER CLUB - Leeds United star Stuart Dallas played for Crusaders for two years from 2010, before a move to Brentford

The Irish League side were involved in a penalty shootout at the end of a 0-0 draw with Cliftonville last night, in the Europa Conference League play-off semi-final.

All of the first nine penalties were converted, meaning Michael Ruddy had to score to keep Crusaders in the tie, but when his effort crashed down off the underside of the crossbar the match officials missed the fact that it clearly crossed the line.

Cliftonville celebrated victory at their Solitude ground but social media had erupted before the players and management of Crusaders, unaware of what had taken place, had even left the pitch.

Dallas, who played for the Belfast club for two years before moving to Brentford, responded to the incident on Twitter from the Northern Ireland camp where he's preparing to take on Ukraine in tomorrow's friendly.

"Embarrassing," he Tweeted.

"Worrying thing is the decisions are getting worse. Bring him out and make him do an interview to explain how he hasn’t seen that."

Dallas' former manager at Crusaders, Stephen Baxter, was gracious in his post-game interview after receiving an apology from the match officials.

"Television will show it’s two foot over the line," he said.

“But when people show honesty and integrity I can’t say a lot more. It’s incredibly difficult when you lose a penalty shootout in the manner we have lost it - and when you get to the very last penalty and it goes against you it’s a very hard one to take.

“The only thing I will say is that both the referee and linesman have apologised profusely to me and the linesman (on the line) particularly.”

Crusaders were involved in another penalty controversy last month when goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey was red carded for repeatedly coming off his line in the Irish Cup semi-final against Larne.

The club appealed the decision but it was rejected and Larne went on to lose in the final to David Healy's Linfield.