Why Man City's Ederson was not given a red card against Crystal Palace

  • Ederson wiped out Palace forward Jean-Philippe Mateta in the first half
  • Man City's goalkeeper escaped with a yellow card
  • Mateta went on to score in a shock 2-2 draw

Ederson controversially avoided a red card against Crystal Palace
Ederson controversially avoided a red card against Crystal Palace / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Ahead of Crystal Palace's visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Pep Guardiola warned any complacent onlookers: "I don't remember easy games against Roy Hodgson's teams."

Manchester City's afternoon was tricky enough as they slumped to a shock 2-2 draw. However, the contest could have become a lot more complicated if their goalkeeper Ederson had been sent off in the first half when making a reckless lunge on Palace's Jean-Philippe Mateta.

There was no doubt that the out-rushing Brazilian fouled Mateta, referee Paul Tierney quickly whistled a free kick and booked Ederson. However, many inside the stadium and beyond questioned the colour of the card.

Why was Man City's Ederson not given a red card against Crystal Palace?

Jean-Philippe Mateta
Jean-Philippe Mateta got to the ball comfortable ahead of Ederson / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Palace predictably arrived in a compact low block, huddled in their rearguard, biding their time before springing forward on the counter.

Jack Grealish had survived a lengthy VAR check to fire City ahead before Mateta made a rare surge forward in the 43rd minute. Palace's striker, who opened the scoring against Liverpool last weekend, got his toe to the ball before Ederson clattered into him outside the penalty area.

There is little debate that Ederson denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity even if Ruben Dias was in close proximity. But that offence does not always result in a dismissal.

Law 12 in the FA handbook states that a player should be punished with a red card when "denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent whose overall movement is towards the offender's goal".

Mateta was clearly running towards the end of the pitch which contained the goal Ederson had vacated but whether his "overall movement" was directly towards the unguarded net is where the doubt lies. Mateta's touch takes Ederson out of the game but is towards the corner flag rather than the posts.

As the offence took place outside of the penalty area, the debate as to whether Ederson made "an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball" is irrelevant.

However, "serious foul play" is a sending-off offence anywhere on the pitch and is defined as when a player "lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent".

Even with the benefit of extensive replays, VAR Stuart Attwell did not deem the decision to book Ederson, rather than send him off, a "clear and obvious error".

Mateta would get his revenge by the end of the game, beating Ederson with Palace's first shot on target of the match before winning a stoppage-time penalty after Phil Foden brought the forward down inside the box. Ederson couldn't rebuff Michael Olise's spot kick but Palace may have emerged from the Etihad with more than one point if City had been reduced to ten in the first half.