Michael Oliver

AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Pochettino laughs off ungiven penalty, says Spurs deserved better

Leave a comment

Mauricio Pochettino says Michael Oliver’s decision not to give a penalty to Spurs when Kyle Walker handled the ball in the box was baffling to the entire world… besides City and its supporters.

“For Manchester City, no, but for me and the rest of humanity, it’s clear,” Pochettino laughed after the game, noting that the referee was well-positioned to see the incident.

[ MORE: 3 things | Player ratings ]

Still buoyed by advancement in the UEFA Champions League, Pochettino might’ve been more bitter had Spurs not already reached that carrot. Tottenham has 67 points and sits third, but is within one bad result — and a UCL exit — from missing out on a return to the competition.

His men were arguably good money for a win, especially given another match without Harry Kane, but Man City keeper Ederson was phenomenal and the reigning league champions plucked a fifth minute goal and made it stand up over the remaining 85-plus.

[ MORE: Guardiola reacts to win ]

“I’m not frustrated with the result,” Pochettino said. “That’s football. It was an even game and we deserved more, at least a draw. The man-of-the-match was Ederson but in football this sometimes happens. I’m so happy with the performance in very difficult circumstances. We competed really well and we had clearer opportunities than them. Just because you deserve it, doesn’t mean you always get it.”

Kane’s VAR penalty gives Spurs first leg lead over Chelsea

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment
  • VAR awards Kane penalty
  • Chelsea pours it on in second half
  • Blues out shoot Spurs 17-6
  • Backup GK Gazzaniga key for Spurs against lively Hazard

Video Assistant Referee played a huge role in the League Cup semifinal first leg between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

Harry Kane converted a penalty awarded via VAR as Spurs grabbed a 1-0 lead in match that otherwise favored the Blues.

The margin was razor-thin, and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri thinks VAR got it wrong.

[ READ: PL Player Power Rankings ]

The second leg is Jan. 24 at Stamford Bridge. The other semifinal between Manchester City and Burton Albion begins Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane was taken down in the box by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the penalty was not awarded as the Spurs man judged to be offside.

The video reviewed the call, though, and found that Kane was onside. The English captain didn’t miss from the spot, and Spurs led 1-0.

Eden Hazard was particularly vivid for Chelsea, though the Blues star could not find the back of the goal and his teammates struggled to put the finishing touch on his playmaking.

Youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Bayern Munich target, played 79 minutes in the match.

Michael Oliver branded “total chaos” by Juve president; Buffon seethes

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
9 Comments

Juventus manager Max Allegri says referees, yes plural, decided the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between his club and Real Madrid.

The Serie A powers clawed their way back from a 3-0 first leg deficit and seemed destined for extra time after two goals from Mario Mandzukic and an equalizer from Blaise Matuidi.

[ RECAP: Real 1-3 (4-3 agg.) Juve ]

But Mehdi Benatia knocked down Lucas Vasquez before the latter could head home a stoppage time winner, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the penalty awarded by Michael Oliver.

That added to Allegri’s frustration from a first leg, stoppage time penalty not given to Juve in Turin.

“I feel bad for the lads who did well in Turin for 60 minutes and didn’t score the goals they did tonight,” Allegri said via Football Italia. “The penalty tonight was basically the reverse of what happened on Juan Cuadrado in the first leg… I said even at the time that incident would decide qualification.”

[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts ]

Allegri also said he was saving a pair of what he believed to be game-changing substitutions for extra time, and said the ref decided the tie.

Gianluigi Buffon, who was sent off for his protest of Oliver’s decision, was less reserved, saying Oliver wanted to play a major role in the match (from Football Italia):

“Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a garbage bin. On top of that, if you don’t have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.

“You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could’ve told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can’t handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.”

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was also quite angry, calling for VAR after the game.

“The referee tonight was in total chaos,” Agnelli said. “It’s a pity, the performance of the boys remains, we confirmed – as did PSG last season and Roma last night – proved you can come back from 3-0 down to turn things around.”

The penalty is one of those calls that is only controversial because of when it took place, as most wouldn’t begrudge the award were it not stoppage time of a UEFA Champions League decider.

FA charges Man City for incident after Liverpool awarded PK

Leave a comment

The FA has charged Manchester City for its protestations following a penalty awarded to Liverpool on Sunday.

[ MORE: Top relegation battles ahead ]

Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot when Roberto Firmino hit the deck following a high boot from Man City’s Gael Clichy.

Here’s what JPW said after the call in his “3 things” post for PST:

Then, at the start of the second when Oliver should’ve waved away a penalty kick call he awarded it. Gael Clichy slipped and then launched into a challenge on Roberto Firmino. Yes, it was a clumsy tackle but Clichy got the ball first. Milner stepped up to score the PK and put Liverpool ahead and perhaps Oliver got out of jail because City equalized and both managers will be fairly happy with the point.

City was not amused by the call, and you can see what earned them the charge in the above video. The flashpoint was one of several penalty shouts in the contest, which ended 1-1.

Mourinho wished referee Oliver “many congratulations” after loss

AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho didn’t want to speak about the red card earned by Ander Herrera for a pair of first half fouls on Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

But he was happy to talk about the man who made those calls.

Manchester United’s boss ripped into referee Michael Oliver after Chelsea eliminated the Red Devils from the FA Cup at the quarterfinals with a 1-0 decision at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

[ MORE: Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd | 3 things from JPW ]

From the BBC:

“We can compare the decisions of the two yellow cards, in this case with others which were not given.

“I don’t want to go in that direction. Michael Oliver is a referee with fantastic potential but in four matches he has given three penalties and a red card. I cannot change that.

“I shook his hand and said many congratulations.”

That’s fire from Mourinho, and certainly boils over to reach his lesser moments in self-control. It’s one thing to criticize a call, or a referee, but insinuating bias is prime “Mourinho off the rails” country.

That said, we certainly understand why he was fired up.