Stephen Baxter ‘accepts apology’ after Crusaders’ penalty controversy
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter says officials ‘apologised profusely’ following Tuesday night’s penalty controversy against Cliftonville.
The Crues lost the European play-off semi-final on spotkicks after a goalless draw at Solitude when Michael Ruddy’s penalty was ruled out, despite the ball hitting the crossbar and bouncing over the line.
TV replays clearly showed the penalty had been wrongly deemed a miss as the Reds secured a 5-4 shootout victory.
Afterwards, Baxter said he accepted the officials’ apology.
He told BBC Sport NI: “Television will show it’s two foot over the line,.
“But when people show honesty and integrity I can’t say a lot more.
“It’s incredibly difficult when you lose a penalty shootout in the manner we have lost it - and when you get to the very last penalty and it goes against you it’s a very hard one to take.
“The only thing I will say is that both the referee and linesman have apologised profusely to me and the linesman (on the line) particularly.”
Crusaders also suffered a controversial penalty exit last month after keeper Jonathan Tuffey was sent-off for repeatedly coming off his line in the Irish Cup semi-final against Larne.
The decision was appealed by the club and subsequently rejected as Larne played in the final, which they lost against Linfield.