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Phil Neville: Inter Miami denied a ‘100 percent penalty’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville sided with the officiating a week ago on a controversial call that did not go in his team’s favor.

He was nowhere near being in agreement with the match referee on Sunday.

Inter Miami came from behind at home to tie Atlanta United, 1-1, at Drv Pnk Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but one of the biggest talking points after the Mother’s Day matinee was whether Neville’s team should have had a late chance to win it.

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Inter Miami midfielder Victor Ulloa collided in a scramble for the ball inside the 18-yard box in stoppage time, leading to adamant protests for a penalty from the Herons and a no-call from referee Joseph Dickerson. Neville adamantly disagreed with the decision.

“One hundred percent a penalty. One hundred percent a penalty,” said an agitated Neville after the stalemate. “I think we should have had two maybe. Poor refereeing. I think that is fair. I praised the referee last week, (but) that is 100 percent a penalty. I have seen it four times. It has got reviewed, so whoever has reviewed it has let the referee down, but we will put that in the report.”

The Inter Miami manager — who last week agreed with an officiating decision to not send off a Nashville SC player — also discussed his side’s performance. Neville noted that he thought Atlanta United was the better team in the first half, especially since the Herons struggled to put the match on their terms in the opening stanza.

“I thought because we knew it was going to be a chaotic game with their system and their man-to-man marking we got a little bit too emotional,” said Neville. “What we said at halftime, we addressed that, to calm down and just to play our game and stick to our plan, not their plan.

“Their plan was to disrupt us, disrupt our rhythm, and I thought they did that.”

Neville stated that he thought the game changed for the better after the break, citing the commitment and desire that his side showed when attempting to get back into the match. The improved play, which also seemed in part due to the introduction of Argentine playmaker Federico Higuain, ultimately produced a 77th-minute equalizer.


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Lewis Morgan came to the rescue for Inter Miami with an individual effort on that play, dribbling through a pair of Atlanta United players before firing a low, hard shot to the near post past Guzan.

“There was times in the game where I would try to make things happen and it had not come off, and it is just about persevering and believing a chance is going to fall to you,” said Morgan, who opened his season account with that strike. “Luckily enough, I was able to make it for myself and take it. From there I thought there was only going to be one winner, but unfortunately we just could not get the second goal.”

Inter Miami could have had a chance to get a second goal if that late call had gone in the team’s favor. It did not, though, resulting in the players arguing vehemently with Dickerson after the final whistle and Neville expressing his severe dismay.

“I am happy at the end of the game,” said Neville. “But not happy — raging — with what I thought we should have had a penalty.”


  1. Often coaches look at calls from a biased position. In this case, however, Neville is right, Guzan clearly tripped the Miami player by grabbing at his feet and the ball was still in play (the player was tripped before the ball rolled over the end line.) There is no way that is not a foul. MLS needs to hold an inquiry into the referee’s and VAR’s decisions.


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