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VAR denied Spurs a ‘perfectly good goal’, says Mark Halsey

The former Premier League referee felt Erik Lamela’s first half strike should have stood.

Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale – Emirates FA Cup – Fifth Round Replay – Wembley Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale – Emirates FA Cup – Fifth Round Replay – Wembley Stadium

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey believes mistakes were made when Tottenham’s “perfectly good goal” against Rochdale was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee during the FA Cup replay with Rochdale.

Erik Lamela’s strike was disallowed by referee Paul Tierney, after a delay of about two minutes, for a minor infringement by Fernando Llorente.

There were other controversies in the snowy FA Cup tie on Wednesday night, including Son Heung-min’s penalty being ruled out after pausing in his run-up.

Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale – Emirates FA Cup – Fifth Round Replay – Wembley Stadium

When asked about Lamela’s goal, Halsey told BBC Five Live: “For me it wasn’t a clear and obvious error. I thought it was a perfectly good goal. I don’t know why it was referred (to the VAR) in the first place.”

Halsey said he could not understand why the referee did not go and look at the monitor on the touchline.

He also criticised Tierney for ruling out the Tottenham penalty, saying he should have used his experience and had the spot-kick retaken for encroachment.

“He could have handled it better,” Halsey added.

Son Heung-min saw his penalty disallowed by the referee, a decision which was criticised by Mark Halsey

Tierney had overturned a decision to award a free-kick for Matt Done’s foul on Kieran Trippier. VAR showed the offence continued into the box and after several minutes of deliberation, Tierney changed his decision and awarded a penalty.

Son stepped up to take the spot-kick and coolly sent Josh Lillis the wrong way. However, after the South Korean stuttered in his run-up, a tactic which has been outlawed, Tierney – without the help of VAR – awarded Dale an indirect free-kick and booked Son.

Tottenham won the FA Cup fifth round replay easily in the end 6-1, but the tie at Wembley was overshadowed by the VAR controversy.

Spurs full-back Danny Rose said it was “shambolic” and an “absolute disgrace” after fans and pundits were left bemused.

Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale – Emirates FA Cup – Fifth Round Replay – Wembley Stadium

Speaking to talkSPORT after the game, Rose said: “We got the job done under shambolic circumstances through the game.

“An absolute disgrace, waiting around for I don’t know how many minutes to get a decision.

“It’s just laughable. It just ruined it a little bit.”

Spurs booked a sixth round meeting with Swansea with a 6-1 victory over Rochdale thanks to a Llorente hat-trick, a double from Son and a further strike by Kyle Walker-Peters. Stephen Humphrys scored for Rochdale.

The Football Supporters Federation again criticised the lack of clarity for match-going spectators, an issue they first raised after January’s FA Cup tie between Liverpool and West Brom.

“Supporters aren’t instinctively opposed to progress and the introduction of goal-line technology has proven popular – but critically these results are instantaneous and haven’t broken the flow of the game,” an FSF statement read.

“The problem with VAR so far has been the lack of clarity for those in the stadium – the process isn’t being communicated to fans and yet again we saw a game’s flow interrupted by decision after decision.

“So far the system has not been a hit with match-goers and their experience has to be central to the improvements that are needed if VAR is to be successfully introduced.”

Press Association


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