sport

Gallagher praises Atkinson

Former referee Dermot Gallagher has heaped praise on Martin Atkinson for spotting a dive from Chelsea star Oscar at Southampton.

Substitute Oscar rounded Kelvin Davis before going to ground and away fans were clamouring for a penalty, only for Atkinson to book the 22-year-old Brazil international for simulation.

The decision proved irrelevant to the final scoreline as the Blues ran out 3-0 winners at St Mary's and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who recently criticised Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for diving, approved of the caution to Oscar.

Gallagher told Sky Sports of Mourinho's admission: "18 hours is a long time in football. What I have to tell you is that he didn't think it was the right decision then, and neither did I - I hold my hand up.

"It's very easy watching it in slow-motion. There's no superlative that can praise the referee highly enough for this.

"We watched it live. Oscar went down. My immediate reaction was 'penalty and red card.' I saw the replay and couldn't believe it. It's one of the best decisions I've ever seen a referee make.

"It was a dive, no doubt about it. I can't praise the referee highly enough."