Arsenal star Martin Odegaard speaks out on horror tackle from Man City's Rodri
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard believes he should have been awarded a penalty after a very late challenge from Rodri in Spain’s win over Norway on Saturday evening.
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Spain won 3-0 in Malaga in the Euro 2024 qualifier, with Dani Olmo having opened the scoring after 13 minutes before substitute Joselu came off the bench late on to net a quick-fire brace and wrap up all three points.
Shortly before Olmo’s opener, Norway felt they were denied a clear spot-kick when Odegaard skipped past Dani Carvajal inside the box and fired off a shot only to be wiped out by Rodri.
Arsenal fans were furious with the tackle, with the Manchester City midfielder ploughing into Odegaard’s standing foot long after the ball had gone, but French referee Benoit Bastien did not award a foul.
Odegaard – who completed the full 90 minutes and did not appear to suffer any kind of injury – looked flabbergasted with the decision on the pitch and was clearly still annoyed afterwards, though did not want to get into trouble by slamming the officials.
‘I’m pretty sure I should have had a penalty,’ Odegaard told TV2 after the match. ‘He’s coming with his studs right on my ankle.
‘But I’m sure I’ll get punished [if I say anymore]. I don’t bother saying anything else about the referee. It’s better not to say anything.’
Manager Stale Solbakken was rather less diplomatic than his skipper, saying: ‘It is a clear penalty!
‘He finishes the shot and you can’t [foul him after]. If I knock someone down after the ball is gone, then it’s a penalty. I get a little bored of this.
‘What I see here now [on the replay] is exactly what I saw from the bench. There was a bit of French arrogance going on. That’s the way it is, but it’s unbelievable.’
The 3-0 scoreline somewhat flattered Spain and Norway – who were without star striker Erling Haaland – missed several gilt-edged chances to score, notably a close-range volley from Alexander Sorloth that he skewered wide with the goal gaping.
Odegaard continued: ‘We kept the ball and tried to play out from the back. We created some great chances that we have to put away.
‘We didn’t, and they get goals out of nowhere really. Then it becomes a slightly uglier scoreline than it felt.’
He added: ‘We did a lot of good things, but we were not sharp enough in front of the goal.’
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