Angry Spurs rue controversial VAR ruling

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Newcastle United

VAR arrived deep into stoppage-time to stamp its authority and hand Newcastle United a point they scaly deserved at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The arguments will go on and on whether those posted at Stockley Park are helping or hindering the game. But while Callum Wilson converted the Geordies 97th-minutes penalty following a lengthy scrutinization, Jose Mourinho will have every right to ask how a similar incident, minutes before, went completely unnoticed?

Once again, there was no place in Jose Mourinho’s matchday squad for Dele Alli – speculation over the England midfielders’ future with the club still rife – Tanguy Ndombele and new arrival from Real Madrid, Sergio Reguilón, named amongst the substitutes.

Karlow Darlow produced a superb double save – keeping out Giovani Lo Celso’s free-kick, then thwarting Harry Kane’s attempts to profit from the follow-up. And soon after, the Magpies stopper was at it again. This time a brilliant one-handed save rebuffing Kane’s goal-bound header from close-range and then diving bravely at the feet of Davinson Sanchez after Kane had nodded on.

But in stark contrast to their last home match, Tottenham appeared spritely and confident. And midway through the opening period, they grabbed the lead.

This time, Kane turned provider, driving low across goal from the left – Lucas Moura arriving at the far post to profit from with the easiest opportunity he’ll be handed all season.

Newcastle were already on the ropes. Darlow superbly saved from Kane, while Heung-Min Son thumped the football of a post and Eric Dier headed wide as the traffic remained decisively one-way.

Son again cursed his luck – his fizzing left-footed strike cannoning back off the face of the bar as the Magpies hung on grimly. However, they almost found a way back – Jonjo Shelvey sending a volley the wrong side of an upright seconds before the interval.

Kane scuffed wide, while Darlow clung to Lucas Moura’s flicked header as Tottenham continued to dominate after the restart. But with only a slender advantage, there was a collective sigh of relief from the hosts after Joelinton cut in from the left but missed the target with an increasingly rare foray forward.

Darlow – Newcastle’s Man of the Match by a country mile – clawed out from Lo Celso as a second goal continued to elude Tottenham. Indeed, a combination of good fortune and dogged resolve from the Magpies had somewhat diluted the contest with Spurs now begging to run short of ideas.

In the closing stages, Darlow – yet again – saved his side, spectacularly flipping over Erik Lamela’s angled free-kick. Meanwhile, Spurs escaped a late scare when Ben Davies and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg became entangled – the ball deflecting wide with Lloris wrong-footed.

But Tottenham was to be undone in stoppage time in contentious fashion. A prolonged VAR check advised referee Peter Bankes to oversee a potential handball by Dier. Wilson rattled home the resulting spot-kick – the conclusion appeared extremely harsh on the hosts.

Emotions were at boiling point. Spurs goalkeeping coach, Nuno Santos, was brandished a red card, presumably for dissent, after the whistle. Once again, football is talking about a decision made miles from the venue which has grabbed the headlines as opposed to the players, fans – when allowed in – are paying to watch!

A busy week for Spurs continues on Tuesday, September 29 when Chelsea are the visitors for a Carabao Cup fourth-round tie (7:45pm). Maccabi Haifa arrive in North London on Thursday, October 1 for a UEFA Europa League play-off (7:45pm). Mourinho’s men return to Premier League action on Sunday 4 when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford (4:30pm).

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Matt Doherty, Davinson Sánchez, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso (Tanguy Ndombele 77’), Lucas Moura (Erik Lamela 79’), Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son (Steven Bergwijn 46’) Subs not used: Sergio Reguilón, Toby Alderweireld, Joe Hart (GK), Moussa Sissoko

Booked: Harry Winks (foul)
Goals: Lucas Moura 25’

Newcastle United: Karl Darlow, Javier Manquillo, Jamaal Lascelles, Frederico Fernández, Matt Ritchie (Jamal Lewis 69’), Jeff Hendrick (Jacob Murphy 74’), Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Miguel Almirón (Andy Carroll 77’), Joelinton, Callum Wilson
Subs not used: Emil Krafth, Deandre Yedlin, Mark Gillespie (GK), Sean Longstaff

Booked: Jonjo Shelvey (foul), Joelinton (foul), Jamal Lewis (foul), Isaac Hayden (foul)
Goals: Callum Wilson (penalty) 90+7’

Referee: Peter Bankes
Assistants: Peter Kirkup and James Mainwaring
Fourth Official: Mike Dean
VAR: Lee Mason
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.


Brian Jeeves

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