Barcelona defender Jordi Alba is finally recalled to Spain squad

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Spain's Barcelona defender Jordi Alba

Jordi Alba has been recalled to the Spain squad ahead of next week’s crucial Nations League meeting with Croatia in Maksimir.

The Barcelona full-back was absent for October’s friendly victory over Wales and subsequent defeat by England in Seville, but is back in Luis Enrique’s plans as he looks to seal a finals place for Spain.

The Premier League is represented by twice-capped Wolves full-back Jonny, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and the Chelsea trio of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata.

However, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and United’s Juan Mata, as well as the likes of Raul Albiol, Marc Bartra, Koke and Paco Alcacer of Borussia Dortmund, have not been called up for the match in Croatia on Thursday, November 15 and a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina three days later.

National boss Luis Enrique unveiled his 24-man squad on Thursday, in a video which showed him hanging pictures of the selected players on a tactics board in his office.

Spain squad to play Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina: De Gea (Man Utd), Kepa (Chelsea), Pau Lopez (Real Betis); Jonny (Wolves), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Llorente (Real Sociedad), Ramos (Real Madrid), Hermoso (Espanyol), Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Gaya (Valencia), Alba (Barcelona); Busquets (Barcelona), Fornals (Villarreal), Brais Mendez (Celta Vigo), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Saul (Atletico Madrid), Ceballos (Real Madrid), Rodri (Atletico Madrid); Suso (AC Milan), Rodrigo (Valencia), Aspas (Celta Vigo), Morata (Chelsea), Isco, Asensio (both Real Madrid).

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Liverpool's Robbie Fowler among five of the most controversial penalty decisions

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Robbie Fowler against Arsenal in 1997

Raheem Sterling won a penalty for Manchester City when he fell over after kicking the turf in their 6-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Referee Viktor Kassai wrongly awarded the spot kick which Gabriel Jesus scored.

Here, we look at other controversial and bizarre penalty decisions.

Robbie Fowler v Arsenal, 1997

The striker won a UEFA Fair Play award after trying to convince referee Gerald Ashby that David Seaman had not touched him when a penalty was awarded at Highbury.

Fowler went down as Seaman rushed out but immediately insisted there was no contact between the pair.

Ashby stuck to his decision and Seaman saved Fowler’s spot kick – only for Jason McAteer to score the rebound as Liverpool won 2-1.

Gordon Watson v Leeds, 1992

In the era before diving became commonplace, Sheffield Wednesday’s Gordon Watson could lay claim to one of the worst.

At Hillsborough against rivals Leeds, the striker launched himself into the air a couple of paces after United defender Chris Whyte had stretched to prod the ball away.

John Lukic turned John Sheridan’s penalty onto the post, only for the winger to stab in the rebound but Leeds overcame the sense of injustice by winning 6-1.

Arjen Robben v Mexico, 2014

Holland were 1-0 down with two minutes left and on the verge of going out of the World Cup in Brazil.

Wesley Sneijder had levelled with two minutes left before Robben earned a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Raphael Marquez stretched for the ball but Robben kicked the back of his own left leg while initiating contact with Marquez allowing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score and send Holland into the quarter finals.

Besart Berisha v Perth Glory, 2012

The former Burnley misfit will be better known for this comical penalty than his forgettable spell at Turf Moor.

Deep into stoppage time in the A-League Grand Final, Brisbane Roar were awarded a penalty after Berisha’s air kick saw him end up on the ground and Jarred Gillett pointed to the spot.

Berisha, who had scored Roar’s equaliser, converted to win the final 2-1 in the most controversial fashion.

Corry Evans v Switzerland, 2017

Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup suffered a damaging blow when they lost 1-0 at home to Switzerland in the first-leg of their play-off.

But it was the nature of the defeat which angered the hosts after referee Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan awarded a penalty against Corry Evans.

The official gave the spot kick for handball but replays showed Xherdan Shaqiri’s volley struck Evans on the back. Northern Ireland’s protests did not stop AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez scoring from 12 yards.

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Raheem Sterling apologises for penalty decision as Pep Guardiola references James Milner

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Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling apologised after winning a penalty in comical circumstances in Manchester City’s 6-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium.

The first of City’s two spot-kicks – both converted by Gabriel Jesus – was awarded when Sterling fell over having stubbed his foot on the ground while trying to shoot, with nearby Shakhtar defender Mykola Matviyenko having not touched him.

Sterling told BT Sport: “I went to chip the ball and I don’t know what happened next.

“I ended up on the floor and turned around. I don’t think I felt contact, it was just my bad.

“I hit the floor and scuffed the floor. Apologies to the ref (Viktor Kassai) and apologies to Shakhtar.”

In his post-match press conference, City boss Pep Guardiola admitted “we realised immediately it was not a penalty”.

Guardiola was then asked if there was any obligation at all for Sterling to indicate to the referee that he knew the way he had fallen.

In his reply he made reference to the incident in last season’s 2-1 quarter-final second-leg defeat to Liverpool when City’s Leroy Sane had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside after the ball was inadvertently played to him by Reds midfielder James Milner.

Guardiola said: “He could do that, yeah. But last season, Liverpool – Milner could say (about) the pass for the second goal in the 44th minute, (that) it was a legal goal.

“He could do that, but of course (referee Antonio) Mateu Lahoz didn’t want to concede that goal, so that’s why it happened.

“You could do that. We don’t like really to score a goal in that situation.

“VAR is what it is. The referees, I said a long time ago, must be helped. They want to make a good performance, they don’t want to make mistakes, but today the game is quick and fast and the players are more skilled.

“They must be helped because in the end it takes three, four, 10 seconds for someone to say it is no penalty. It is what it is.”

He added when then asked if a coach would ever tell a penalty-taker to pass the ball to the goalkeeper: “No. I’ve never said (that), no. But I’m young, so I will learn.”

City were 1-0 up through a David Silva finish when the incident occurred midway through the first half. Sterling subsequently made it 3-0 with a fine goal, before Jesus added his second spot-kick and then then wrapped up a hat-trick, either sided of a Riyad Mahrez strike.

While City have moved closer to qualifying for the last 16, they would have had a place confirmed if Hoffenheim had not scored a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Lyon.

Guardiola, whose Premier League league leaders beat Southampton 6-1 on Sunday, said: “I am (very happy), really I am. We did again an incredible performance.

“It is a tough competition, the Champions League. Unfortunately we are not already qualified for the next stage but we are so close and we (will) try to keep and maintain that level.”

City have nine points in Group F, Lyon – who they face away next – have six, Hoffenheim have three and Shakhtar have two.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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