Rafa Benitez slams crucial referee decision in Newcastle draw v Birmingham

By Danny Wright

Rafa Benitez is unhappy with referee Simon Hooper for his performance in Newcastle’s 0-0 draw with Birmingham on Saturday.

Hooper ruled out a Matt Ritchie goal in the first half despite the 27-year-old appearing to be level with Ayoze Perez, who had a shot was saved by Tomasz Kuzsczak before he scrambled the ball over the line.

Benitez believes that the goal should have stood.

Newcastle failed to put the ball in the back of the net again in what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Magpies.

As a result, Newcastle only managed to pull a one-point gap between themselves and second-placed Brighton.

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“We have seen this so many times and we are a little bit disappointed,” said the Spaniard, as quoted by the Shields Gazette.

“I think that we did what we had to do with the problems that we had, but still we did well, we had control of the game and we had some chances.

“We had a goal, and I have seen the replay – disallowed when it should have been a goal.”

Newcastle dominated Birmingham for most of the game but they have now just scored once in their last three matches, all of which have been without a win for the league leaders.

Benitez will now be hopeful that they can return to winning ways in two back-to-back home games against strugglers Wigan and Burton after the international break.

The 56-year-old has managed the likes of Liverpool, Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid during his glittering career.

He moved to St. James’ Park in March 2016 and was relegated from the Premier League despite an impressive end to the season which saw then beat title contenders Tottenham 5-1.

In other Newcastle news, fans have raged at this 29-year-old for his poor performance against the Blues on Saturday.

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