Sunderland defender Aji Alese may feel fortunate not to have given away a penalty on the weekend in their draw against Millwall.
What’s the latest?
Tony Mowbray’s men picked up a big point away to the Londoners on the weekend in a game where the found themselves a goal behind.
Dennis Cirkin was the man to get his head on the ball and provide the Black Cats with a way back into the game for what was just his second goal of the 2022/23 campaign.
However, there was a penalty shout for the hosts with the Sunderland centre-back seemingly holding back Tom Bradshaw inside the penalty area.
And speaking on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has labelled this incident as clumsy from the young defender:
“It’s clumsy and I think whatever the referee does, you back him, because he goes down, together – is there enough to give a penalty? The referee’s close, he has a good view. Difficult call.”
There does certainly seem to be some contact from the 22-year-old who allowed Bradshaw to turn inside him despite having Danny Batth covering.
So with this in mind, there probably is some scope for a potential penalty to be awarded against the Black Cats with the Millwall forward going down as a result of the contact.
And given the incident occurred after just a few minutes, it is something which could have certainly changed the narrative of the game if Sunderland had found themselves behind so early on.
However, there will likely be some who would feel it would have been a soft penalty had it been awarded by the referee.
Perhaps the contact was minimal but it was enough to potentially give the referee something to think about which is always a dangerous game to play.
Alese has played a big role in the Sunderland side this season since making the move from Millwall’s rivals, West Ham United, over the summer.
However, it does seem Saturday may not have been his best display in a red and white shirt as journalist James Hunter awarded him with just a 6/10 rating.
The youngster clearly has some developing still to do and perhaps this incident is one he will learn from as another referee seemingly could have interpreted it in a different way.