Jermain Defoe turned back the years with a sublime double, Christian Benteke snatched the injury-time penalty taking duties from Luka Milivojevic, only to fluff his lines and three goals in seven minutes. It was a rollercoaster of a tie. What a shame it is, therefore, that we’re here talking about diving.
It’s fast becoming english football’s biggest ‘no-no’. Criticism and public scolding from pundits, journalists and fans alike are what follows any player who dares to try his hand at the dark arts.
It’s an art, however, that Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha claims to have no involvement in.
The 25-year-old has hit out at critics who have this week accused him of diving, notably during Saturday’s encounter at the Selhurst Park.
The FA decided that the Ivory Coast international will face no punishment following claims of simulation at the weekend and the winger took to Instagram to vent his frustration.
“Diving this, diving that!” He blasted.
"All you people won't be happy unless I get my leg broken … maybe that's when you'll realise maybe I'm targeted just a lot more than others! Joke! Smh.
"People with voices nowadays either bring you down or don't say nothing unless you're in the top teams … anyways I'll still do me."
Bournemouth were angry as they argued that Zaha had intentionally dragged his trailing leg to ensure it made contact with the on-rushing Asmir Begovic to win a controversial penalty during the first half.
On the face of it, it’s a difficult one to call, but Palace boss Roy Hodgson has come out in defence of his player, insisting that Zaha does not dive, period, and went to suggest that the Eagles could’ve been awarded even more penalties on Saturday.
“He doesn’t dive. That’s the simple fact of the matter,” he said.
“Apart from the two penalties awarded, there were at least half a dozen other occasions where if you look at it with a fine-toothed comb, like everyone seems to want to do, there could have been more penalties.
“He doesn’t dive so that doesn’t bother me.”
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey disagrees with the former England boss and stressed that Zaha was trying to con the official for the first penalty.
“In my view Zaha is trying to deceive the referee,” he said.
“If the FA are going to be consistent, having charged Everton’s Oumar Niasse last month they have surely got to be looking to do the same with Zaha.”
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