Spurs’ Champions League hopes blunted by Blades amid VAR controversy
Tottenham suffer 3-1 defeat against Sheffield United – but only after a Harry Kane strike was ruled out at Bramall Lane
02 July, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
SHEFFIELD UNITED 3 (Berge 31, Mousset 69, McBurnie 84)
SPURS 1 (Kane 90)
TOTTENHAM saw their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League dealt a massive blow tonight (Thursday) when they were swept aside by Sheffield United.
Spurs slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Bramall Lane, but not before controversially having a goal chalked off by a VAR call at a crucial moment in the match.
Jose Mourinho’s men controlled the early stages of the game, but there was a somewhat casual feel to their approach play in the final third.
That was punished on the half-hour mark when United struck a sweet opener.
Sander Berge played the ball out wide, and by the time Chris Basham sent a cross into the box the Norwegian midfielder was on hand to finish what he had started by drilling a low shot past Hugo Lloris.
However the hosts were quickly pegged back – or so it seemed.
Within seconds of the restart Harry Kane slalomed past a challenge and scuffed a left-footed shot past Dean Henderson.
But before the Tottenham players had finished celebrating the goal was ruled out in a moment of madness that highlights everything that is wrong with VAR.
In the build-up Lucas Moura was tumbled over, and as he fell to the ground the ball was kicked against his arm.
By the letter of the law – which states “any goal scored or created with the use of the hand or arm will be disallowed even if it is accidental – it was the correct decision. But put simply, the rule is wrong.
There was no doubting that the disallowed goal had a major impact on the game. But it shouldn’t overshadow just how bad the visitors defended in the second half.
The Spurs backline stood like statues as United doubled their advantage on 69 minutes.
Oli McBurnie picked out Enda Stevens on the left wing with a sublime pass, and the left-back played a one-two with Ben Osborn before popping in a cross for Lys Mousset to tap into an unguarded net.
Two became three late on when good play between George Baldock and Berge led to a cute close-range finish from McBurnie.
Harry Kane pulled a goal back for Tottenham as the match moved into stoppage time – but it was little consolation for Spurs fans, who saw their side slip below north London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League table.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Norwood, Berge, Osborn, Stevens, McBurnie (K. Freeman, 90+1), McGoldrick (Mousset, 63)
Substitutes not used: Moore, Jagielka, Rodwell, Zivkovic, Sharp
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier (Ndombele, 71), Sanchez, Dier, Davies (Vertonghen, 81), Sissoko (Alli, 71), Lo Celso, Son, Bergwijn (Lamela, 56), Moura, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Winks, Skipp, Fernandes