Who has Luis Suarez’s back? Everyone, apparently
Luis Suarez has plenty of defenders after Sunday’s little FA Cup uproar. Even the manager of the semi-pro team eliminated by the storied, former Champions of Europe says Liverpool’s Uruguayan forward deserves no censure in this case.
Mansfield Town goalkeeper Alan Marriott, was similarly forgiving – even after Suarez’s teammate, Stewart Downing, shared some sympathy while admitting that the referee and his assistants had seriously blown it here.
So while Suarez was mostly given a pass, the officiating crew isn’t going to get off lightly.First, what Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox had to say:
“I don’t think Suarez did anything wrong, I thought it was instinctive center forward play, and really I don’t think anyone would blame him for that.
“But the body language of the players told you it was handball. He didn’t celebrate and casually smashed it into the net as if to say he’d just handled it, and the reactions of our players showed the referee what had happened too.“But the officials missed it. You can’t blame Suarez for that - what he does and what he did today was instinctive. He is a fabulous goalscoring talent who brings so much to English football, and we should celebrate that. He did what all strikers should do.
What Mansfield Town ‘keeper Alan Marriott said about it:
From Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers:
And finally, from the Guardian’s live blogging Sunday, another journalist nearby defended Suarez’s seemingly provocative celebratory bit, where he kissed his right wrist – quite close to the spot where the Uruguayan international swatted the ball into pool little Mansfield Town’s goal. So, this from writer Benjamin Nelson: