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Pundits call for action to end plague of 'diving' for penalties.

Byline: DOMINIC SHAW and PHILIP TALLENTIRE

STRIKER turned pundit Stan Collymore has slammed Leroy Sane for what he deemed a "cynical dive" which led to the award of a Manchester City penalty against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

On what proved to be a day for Premier League referees to forget, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Leroy Sane all won soft spot-kicks after going down despite minimal, or in some cases no, contact in the box.

But of the three, Collymore described Sane's dramatics as the most blatant, claiming the German realised he'd lost control of the ball so went looking for contact in search of a penalty. Reflecting on the decision which allowed Sergio Aguero to slot home an equaliser for Manchester City, Collymore told BOYLESports: "He drives into the box and when the moment comes to take a touch towards goal, Sane actually plays the ball away from goal, in my opinion triggering this thought process: 'I've overplayed the ball, so what can I do to get something from this situation? Dive.' "It's as blatant a dive as you will see all weekend.

His arms are out, legs looking to go into an opponent to 'legitimise' in Sane's conscience that contact has been made.

"It's a cynical dive after the attacking player's poor touch demanded that he get himself out of the s**t by taking the easy option."

Steve Agnew expressed his disappointment with the decision after the match, saying Sane went down "very, very easily".

But Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claimed the German international insisted he was fouled.

"It's best to review penalties by looking at what's happened all season, my friends," Guardiola said. "Maybe we don't talk about that.

"If I didn't complain about the referee or the penalties that have happened this season, and I could make a long list, I won't be talking about the referees today.

"Sane told me it was a penalty. Sane said in Southampton it was not a penalty (when) it was a penalty, so I think we're fair in our judgment."

Meanwhile, Danny Murphy insists players who dive should be punished retrospectively.

The BBC Match Of The Day pundit analysed Manchester City's controversial penalty and refused to condemn the German international outright but did say he'd "done" de Roon.

"It's not about Sane as such because so many players do this now," said the former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder.

"The question is how do you help the referee? We've talked about technology but retrospective action is the only way forward otherwise more and more players are going to do it.

"If you keep getting penalties for doing it, then players are going to do it.

"If you get punished for doing it, players might stop doing it; it's not rocket science."

Referee Kevin Friend awarded the spot-kick and his positioning was poor when penalising de Roon in the 67th minute of an exciting 2-2 draw.

"Whether he can (see) or he can't, he's made a mistake," said Murphy, "and it's hard for referees when players are doing that, trying to stitch up... (trying to) get penalties.

"It's the same principal as when you pretend to be hurt when you haven't been properly hit, I don't like that either.

"And unless something happens, ie punishment for doing it (it won't stop)," he added.

CAPTION(S):

Marten de Roon is given a yellow card for dissent after complaining about the penalty against him but many pundits argued it was Leroy Sane who should have been punished instead PETER REIMANN
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 2, 2017
Words:588
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