Category Archives: FA Cup

Jay Rodriguez double enough to oust Liverpool from FA Cup

Published by:

Jay Rodriguez scored twice as West Brom defeated Liverpool by 3-2 and ousted the Reds from the FA Cup in a fourth-round tie dominated by controversial video assistant referee (VAR) decisions.

Referee Craig Pawson ruled out a West Brom goal but gave Liverpool a penalty and delayed awarding the visitors’ third goal because of VAR referrals.

Rodriguez thumped an equaliser seconds after Roberto Firmino chipped an opener, then slotted another for Albion to go 2-1 up.

Poor defending then saw the culmination of Joel Matip’s own goal made it 3-1, before Mohamed Salah managed to pulled one back when he scored from close range from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross, but they could not find the vital equalizer they sorely needed in the end.

Liverpool’s first-half penalty, which Firmino missed, was a moment of VAR history — as it was the first time a referee in an English game had referred to a monitor on the touchline to make a final decision.

Almost three minutes passed between the initial incident and Firmino stepping up to take the penalty in which Pawson subsequently ruled — after a significant delay — that Jake Livermore had tugged Salah’s shirt, and pointed to the spot.

It was the second time in a few minutes that West Brom had been on the wrong end of a VAR decision, with Craig Dawson having seen a goal ruled out that would have put them 3-1 up.

VAR assistant Andre Marriner alerted Pawson to the fact that Gareth Barry, standing in front of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and interfering with play, was offside as Dawson headed in a Chris Brunt corner.

Pawson also seemed to check with Marriner after Salah slotted in Firmino’s lay-off with 12 minutes left, although there was no delay in play and no clear reason as to why the goal might have been in doubt.

Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs boss says praise for Tottenham is deserved

Published by:

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that Arsene Wenger, his counterpart at Arsenal should keep quiet about Tottenham, insisting all the praise his squad has gathered is deserved.

Before the Gunners’ Carabao Cup semi-final win against Chelsea on mid-week, Wenger said pundits “celebrate some teams who have not been in a final for 25 years”.

His comments were taken as a dig at Tottenham and Liverpool, who together have won only two trophies since 2008.

However, Pochettino took exception to Wenger’s analysis, saying: “I’m so young and only five years in the Premier League, in two clubs Southampton and Tottenham, but there’s no point to talk about another team.”

“Praise? Of course we receive praise. Football is not only to win trophies, it’s the circumstances of different clubs. For me he is and will always be one of the best managers in the world, I respect him, but I think he needs to talk for himself and for Arsenal.”

“For me he is a special manager,” Pochettino added. “But everyone sometimes makes a mistake and for me he made a mistake to talk about us or a different team.”

Tottenham will travel to the League Two promotion hopefuls Newport on Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup, which realistically represents Pochettino’s best chance of winning a trophy this season.

“We have to be ready to fight and put ourselves in the same level as them,” Pochettino said. “The same motivation, no complaints, no excuse-finding – we try to believe that we are going to play against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus in the Champions League.”

Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have returned to training after hamstring and knee problems respectively but this weekend could come too soon for them; Newport share their pitch at Rodney Parade with two rugby teams — Newport and Dragons — meaning the surface may not be kind to players just coming back from injury.

Antonio Conte: VAR made ‘big mistake’ over Alvaro Morata dive call

Published by:

Antonio Conte said that the video assistant referee Mike Jones made “big, big mistake” after opting not to flag up a potential penalty and instead sent off Alvaro Morata in Chelsea’s third round replay victory over Norwich City.

The hosts, who won on penalties, were down to nine men following the dismissals of Pedro and Morata who were both shown one of their two yellow cards for diving.

Conte, who watched a replay of that challenge and was insistent it should have resulted in a penalty, saying that the VAR apparently decided no clear and obvious error had occurred.

“If we want to use a new system, I can’t accept a big mistake,” Conte said. “In this case, the Willian penalty was a big, big mistake. Not from the referee on the pitch, who took quickly a decision to book Willian and didn’t have any doubt, but from the person watching the game [Jones]. I hope the VAR wasn’t a referee because if you see that watching on television and don’t think that’s a penalty … he has to improve. It was very clear.”

“At least to avoid a big mistake, [the VAR has] to call the referee and tell him: ‘Look, maybe this situation there is a doubt. For me it’s no penalty, but it’s better you go and watch it, and then take the final decision.’ We need to improve if we want to use this new system. We have to wait to check with the person who is watching the game and then, if this person is sure 100% that it is simulation, go and book Willian.”

“About Pedro, if there is a dive it’s right to take a yellow card. It’s the same for Morata. I don’t want an advantage, especially if you know this system is being used. You can watch every situation with this situation. If someone gives a punch or an elbow, you must pay great attention. In this case, if it wasn’t a penalty, it was right to give a yellow card.”

“For sure, I’m not happy for the second yellow card for Morata. The first yellow card was for a doubtful situation — I didn’t watch Morata’s situation yet — but the second was for dissent. You must pay great attention. In this moment of the game you have to pay great attention to stay calm and make the best decision.”

Leicester City eases past Fleetwood town thanks to VAR-awarded goal

Published by:

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho became the first player to score a goal awarded by a video assistant referee (VAR) in English football as the Foxes beat Fleetwood in an FA Cup third-round replay by 2-0.

After the Nigerian striker opened the scoring with a routine strike from Islam Slimani’s pass, Iheanacho subsequently had a goal initially disallowed for offside from Riyad Mahrez’s through ball.

However, after referee Jonathan Moss liaised with the video official Mike Jones — who told him Nathan Pond’s trailing foot was keeping Iheanacho onside — the goal was finally awarded 67 seconds after it hit the back of the net.

This is the third time the VAR has been used as a trial in English football, all this month, after Brighton v Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and Chelsea v Arsenal in the League Cup; however, while the video referee was consulted in those games, they never used to reverse a decision.

Moss had already briefly spoken to the video official when Iheanacho had an earlier goal ruled out because the ball had crossed the byeline before Demarai Gray crossed it.

There were also a number of discussion regarding in-game incidents between both Moss and Jones such as when Leicester’s Vicente Iborra was pulled back in the box — which they decided not to award a penalty for — before Moss initially disallowed a second goal by the Nigerian for offside.

For the latter, Jones decided — correctly — that Pond was actually keeping him on-side, a decision that was easily missed in real time by the officials.

Moss has the option to watch the case again on a screen on the side of the pitch, had he wanted to — but in this case, he utilized the freedom to trust the video official.