Thu, Jan 10, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Spurs, Chelsea coaches vexed by VAR decision


Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, left, takes a shot during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea in London on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

The video assistant referee (VAR) was meant to cut out moaning from coaches by improving accuracy, but the managers of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have other ideas.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham on Tuesday benefited from a VAR decision — with Harry Kane winning and converting a penalty in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea — but the manager still grumbled about the technology.

“I don’t like,” Pochettino said after the 1-0 win. “I think it is not clear what are the rules.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri agreed, unhappy about how the penalty was awarded at Wembley Stadium in a rare use of VAR in English soccer.

After a lengthy delay, replays determined that Kane was onside and then fouled by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga when he rushed clear on goal in the first half.

Telling how VAR was a “disaster” when introduced in Serie A last season, Sarri said that Chelsea’s own camera gave a more accurate reading of Kane’s positioning than the broadcast feed.

“Kane was offside, clearly offside,” Sarri said. “But it’s not important. It’s more important that the linesman stops the run. He didn’t.”

“For the players on the pitch it’s clearly offside and so he had a big influence on our defenders,” Sarri said. “So I think they need to study better the system and it’s very strange in the Premier League there is not this system and then in the [EFL] Cup there is this system.”

Andreas Christensen would not want to see any replays of the second-half chance to equalize that he squandered. The Chelsea defender missed an open goal after being unmarked when he met Eden Hazard’s cross in the second half.

Kane’s goal allowed Tottenham to complete a run of three consecutive victories against Chelsea in all competitions for the first time since the early 1960s.

Winning his 250th match in charge of Tottenham pushes Pochettino closer to winning a trophy that has eluded him. The EFL Cup is the last trophy won by the club 11 years ago.

The second leg of the semi-final is at Stamford Bridge on Jan. 24.

The buildup to the Tuesday’s game saw Tottenham and Chelsea urge fans to behave themselves after a focus on incidents of discriminatory abuse.

However, three men aged 17, 20 and 23 were arrested for “racially aggravated public order offenses,” police said.

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