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EPL Report: Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Sunderland: Did Darren Bent Dive?

When Robbie Keane put Tottenham Hotspur up over Sunderland in the 12th minute it was against the run of play and a very fortunate goal. A flick on from Crouch went right to Robbie Keane who hit it right at Sunderland's goalkeeper, Craig Gordon. Gordon blocked it but the ball came right back to Keane who quickly bundled it into the net. For the next 50 minutes, Sunderland controlled the game and had 4 shots on target to Spurs 1 but could not break through. Andy Reid was outstanding, controlling the midfield and smacking the crossbar on a 25 yarder shot.

Then everything changed in the 50th minute when Darren Bent touched the ball just past the outstretched arms of Tottenham Hotspur's keeper, Huerelho Gomes and then fell to the ground. The ESPN announcer said that he drew the foul. Did Darren Bent dive? In basketball we call it a flop and it seems that something similar happened here. It was probably a foul and the official had to call it. Darren Bent was touched by the keeper but Bent really had no chance of scoring because his touch was too hard. The official produced a yellow card for Gomes, which means that there was not a clear scoring opportunity or he would have produced a red card.

Bent, relishing the chance to score against his former team, where he was left to rot on the bench, stepped up to take the penalty. Like a quarterback telegraphing a throw to his receiver, Bent stared down the keeper's left side. Gomes read it like a linebacker watching the QBs eyes and blocked the shot. Gomes raised his arms in triumph, feeling entirely vindicated and Spurs took over the game, eventually scoring again and shutting down Sunderland. It was a game changing moment but the question remains. Did Darren Bent dive? Well, the ball never lies.

Tottenham Hotspur 2 - Sunderland 1
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  1. I'm so glad that Bent missed/Gomes blocked the penalty. It's such a frustrating penalty in my opinion and it happens quite often. The goalie has to challenge the player. He can't not slide in on the player. If he tries to stand the player up, the forward will just make a quick move to the side and it's an easy goal. So he has to slide, but the forward knows that all he has to do is tap the ball to the side and then fall to the ground and it's a penalty every time. Bent, like many other forwards who get the penalty, couldn't have even gotten to the ball after they tap it pass the keeper. They know that they don't need to make it a 'playable ball' or a ball they can get to, they just have to tap it in any direction away from the keeper and then fall to the ground. If the goalie was raising his hands as the forward is trying to jump over the goalie, then I'd understand the penalty. But here, like most situations, the goalie keeps his hands stationary and is just trying to challenge the play, but it's a penalty everytime. Needs to be fixed in my opinion.

  2. definitely a dive from Bent and I fully agree with you Kent on the no-win situation for keepers. It's really a rule tat should change.

  3. It almost needs it's own name like, tap-and-dive or the Striker's Flop because it is all too frequent. Rooney pulled one earlier this year as well. Exact same situation where he had no chance at scoring and started falling before the keeper touched him.

  4. I remember the Rooney one because I believe it was the same weekend as this one from Raul:


    The penalty comes at the 3:20 mark. I'm even a Real fan and I felt this penalty was unjustified. There is absolutely no way Raul gets that ball and makes a play so close to the touch line, especially with the ball going away from the goal.

  5. I thought that you couldn't stutter-step when taking a penalty, but CRon consistently does it. I'm going to have to look up the rules on that.

    Yeah, Raul had no chance of scoring and he jumped up in the air. The keeper hardly touched him.


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