Tottenham Hotspur came from behind last night to earn a deserved 2-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The victory came with a bitter taste as winger Gareth Bale was once again yellow carded for diving and simulation which rules him out against Reading through suspension.
In the 80th minute of the game, the winger was touched by Sunderland’s Craig Gardner in the penalty area. TV replay showed clearly that there was sufficient contact with the player as Bale hurled himself to the ground.
What could have easily been a penalty referee Martin Atkinson not only turned a deaf ear to the Spurs’ appeal but chose to book Bale for diving in the box.
“If there’s contact it’s a penalty or free-kick, there’s nothing I can do. What do you want me to do – hit my head on the floor? I have to put my hands down to protect myself. If people kick me, I’ll go down,” Bale said after the match.
“People keep saying I’m diving but it doesn’t bother me whatsoever. It’s a foul and I know it myself.”
That’s five times in his career the player has been booked for the act of diving. Clearly, Atkinson went on with the reputation of the player, which is an incorrect decision. His main job is to spot the action and not give any decision based on preconceived notions, which has happened in this case. Spurs meanwhile have moved to third in the table with 36 points from 20 games. But it’s the poor decision of the ref that will irk the manager and the player.