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City’s players surrounded the officials at full time and felt they had been denied a goalscoring chance when Hooper brought play back for a foul on Haaland.
CIty wanted to play advantage with Jack Grealish through on goal against only a couple of recovering Tottenham defenders. The Premier League champions were on the attack after conceding a late equaliser to Dejan Kulusevski’s header.
Haaland had to be restrained at full-time after leading the protests. The City striker was clipped by Tottenham defender Emerson Royal as the hosts broke forward, but Haaland was able to stay on his feet to continue the move and play Grealish in on goal.
But referee Hooper brought the play back for the foul, which was committed inside the City half. Reacting to a clip of the incident on social media after full-time, Haaland posted: “Wtf”.
On Sky Sports, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said the referee had made a “mistake” while former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said Hooper had “panicked” by bringing play back.
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards added: “The referee had a brilliant game today until this moment. I don’t understand. He puts the whistle to his mouth, he waves it on but stops to play advantage. Grealish is clearly through but then he stops the play, which I just don’t understand.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also said he did not understand the decision but said he would not “do a Mikel Arteta comment” following the Arsenal manager’s recent criticism of referees and VAR.
“Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment,” Guardiola said in response to a question on Hooper’s decision. “It is hard when you review the image, the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.
“It was a good game, that is the most important thing. It was a pity, same as the Liverpool game, I had the feeling that today that we made an incredible performance in all departments, against a really good team and manager and how they play.
“We created a lot of chances, we were aggressive, incredibly concentrated, and the feeling is that we still want to be there [at the top of the table]. It is a pity. Sometimes football is like life, you do not get what you deserve.”
City were wasteful throughout the match, however, with Haaland missing an open goal and Jeremy Doku and Julian Alvaraz striking the post. Kulusevski’s 90th minute header rescued Tottenham a point at the Etihad and ended a run of three Premier League defeats in a row for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
Kulusevski’s towering leap denied City victory in a breathless contest, which means Pep Guardiola’s champions have now dropped points in three consecutive games following draws against Chelsea and Liverpool.
Injury-hit Spurs took the lead when Son Heung-min finished off a clinical counter-attack, but the Tottenham captain then found the net at the other end two minutes later as he diverted a free-kick into his own goal.
Postecoglou’s side stuck to their bold and attacking plan despite their injury crisis and City could have been out of sight as they routinely tore the visitors apart, with Phil Foden putting them in front after the half hour.
City were wasteful, however, and Spurs grabbed a deserved equaliser in the second half when Giovani Lo Celso curled in.
City woke themselves up in the final stages and Jack Grealish punished a loose pass from Tottenham’s Yves Bissouma to restore their lead, before Kulusevski’s dramatic header settled the contest.