‘Leg breaking challenge’ rocks football

VAR officials at Stockley Park have admitted they made a mistake over the decision to not send off Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

The Spurs midfielder avoided either a red or a yellow card after catching Cesar Azpilicueta on the shin with his studs, appearing to go over the top of the ball when making the challenge.

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Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have attributed the decision to human error by video officials. David Coote was the VAR on duty at Stockley Park for the game.

Lo Celso picked up a yellow for a challenge on Mason Mount in the 82nd minute.

The challenge by the Spurs midfielder was torn apart by the commentary team when it was shown on replay.

“That is a red card challenge. That’s a stamp, that’s coming down with some force. He’s not going to survive that one, I’d be amazed if he does. That is a leg breaking challenge,” one commentator said.

But after reviewing the decision, VAR decided it wasn’t worthy of a red card which left the commentary team seeing red.

“How on earth has he stayed on for that, that is absolutely astonishing I’m sorry that is ridiculous,” a commentator proclaimed.


Giovani Lo Celso escapes a red card after an "astonishing" VAR review ?#OptusSport #PL #CHETOT pic.twitter.com/EOswzK6fyb

Chelsea boss and football great Frank Lampard spoke about the incident following his side’s victory and blasted the error.

“Everybody knew they’d made a mistake,” Lampard said.

“We obviously have the monitor and can view it. I was waiting for the red card to be shown. Not with real pleasure because it’s just a tackle which endangers a player. That’s what VAR was brought in for, to see things the referees on the pitch side don’t see. And it’s just not good enough.”

“Saying afterwards that they made a mistake isn’t good enough because they had minutes, they took a couple of minutes to try to get it right. They probably needed one viewing of that one to get it right. So I don’t know what more to say – just another huge question mark on VAR.

The decision that’s caused the controversy.Source:AFP

“I want VAR to be good, I want it to work. It’s a high-speed game, the referees have the toughest job around and VAR is brought in to help them and make the game better and it was so wrong today. More question marks.

“This one doesn’t need the monitor. It’s a clear decision. A human decision. Stockley Park, red card. Game goes on.”

Chelsea won the game thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso, with Antonio Rudiger scoring an own goal to give Spurs a late consolation.

Lo Celso will not face retrospective action for the challenge despite the admission of the error.

Under PGMOL rules, retrospective disciplinary action is reserved for incidents “not captured by the match officials or VAR”.

Play on.)Source:Getty Images

Azpilicueta was surprised the challenge from Lo Celso did not even yield a yellow card because he felt a “clear stamp on his shin”.

“I’m not a player that likes to be on the floor because I’m tough but it was not my fault because it was a clear stamp on my shin, I felt it straight away,” Azpilicueta said after the match.

“I was surprised it was not a red card, not even a yellow card. Obviously everybody makes mistakes but when you have a lot of replays it could be easier.”

Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier described the decision as a “joke” on Soccer Saturday.

“It’s an absolute joke. He’s stamped on him with no intention of playing the ball,” he said.

“He could quite easily have snapped his shin. That’s why VAR was brought in and that’s absolutely shocking. No excuse, no defence for that whatsoever.”

And fellow Sky Sports pundit Sue Smith added: “It’s an awful challenge. In my opinion he has to go for this. It’s late, it’s high. He could break his leg here. Le Celso is very lucky for that.”


Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-1

Crystal Palace defeated Newcastle 1-0

Burnley defeated Bournemouth 3-0

Sheffield United drew with Brighton 1-1

Southampton defeated Aston Villa 2-0

Manchester City defeated Leicester City 1-0

This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.

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