Football

I did not call Crystal Palace’s Wilfired Zaha a diver – Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe insists he did not call Wilfried Zaha a diver after Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace but says Bournemouth are awaiting clarification from the FA on two controversial penalties.

Referee Kevin Friend twice awarded spot-kicks for fouls on Zaha, the first of which was committed by Asmir Begovic in the 41st minute, with the second coming in injury time when Charlie Daniels was judged to have brought down the Palace winger.

Bournemouth were handed a reprieve on that occasion when Christian Benteke grabbed the ball from Luka Milivojevic, who had emphatically scored the first penalty, and missed.

But Howe was still angered by the decision and requested feedback from the FA on Friend’s decisions, something he has yet to receive.

Howe confirmed: “I have not had anything yet. I am waiting just a conversation about the incidents really. I am not a confrontational guy so it is not going to be anything other than a debate about the incidents – what they see and what we see.

“Then we will come to a conclusion about what is and what is not the right decision. I think that is the process we need to go through.

“For me when I have analysed the two incidents, I don’t think either are penalties. That is just my opinion. Everyone has a different one in football.

“It was only when I saw them again that I could see Charlie got a clear touch on the ball and I don’t think the first one is enough to give a penalty.”

The row prompted Palace boss Roy Hodgson to come out in defence of Zaha on Monday, insisting he is not a diver, but Howe says that is not an accusation he ever made.

Howe explained: “I don’t think there is a case for retrospective action. I think if you look at the second one, it is a full-blooded tackle but Charlie has won the ball.

“For me if that tackle is to be outlawed and is a penalty then the art of defending is going to be lost. It was a great challenge from Charlie.

“But, no, I don’t necessarily think that because you disagree on a penalty there has naturally been a dive. That is not my accusation to Wilfried Zaha and it never was after the game.

“It was just a case that I think the referee got the decisions wrong.”

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