VAR penalty drama denies Spurs victory over Newcastle
Mourinho says Tottenham 'deserve more respect' after controversial handball decision deep into stoppage time gifts Magpies 1-1 draw
27 September, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
Spurs 1 (Moura 25)
Newcastle 1 (Wilson, 90+7 pen)
IT is such a shame that the person on the pitch who stopped Spurs winning their fourth game on the bounce was referee Peter Bankes.
Jose Mourinho’s team looked nailed on for all three points until the dodgiest of dodgy penalties allowed Newcastle to return to Tyneside with a draw.
With seconds left, Bankes awarded a free-kick to the Magpies which wasn’t a foul: he missed not one, but two Newcastle players being fractionally offside as a high ball from deep was swung in.
He then failed to see Jamaal Lascelles shove Eric Dier – and then, with the Spurs centre-back off balance and his back to the ball, saw an Andy Carroll header strike the back of Dier’s arm.
None of this would have made a difference if the VAR hadn’t run the rule over the stoppage time incident – and then failed to see the series of reasons why no penalty should have be given.
Bankes looked at the pitch side monitor, received instructions in is ear piece, and pointed to the spot – allowing Newcastle’s new signing Callum Wilson to smash home the equaliser.
It was a ridiculous decision. And added to a weekend filled with controversy, which included Manchester United being awarded a winning spot-kick after the full-time whistle had already been blown against Brighton, and Everton beating Crystal Palace courtesy of another dubious penalty call.
The clamour for a radical re-think over both VAR and the rules surrounding handballs in the penalty area is deafening.
Asked after the game for his views on the debacle, Mourinho said icily: “It’s not for me to comment.”
He added he only wanted to talk about how well his side had done – but the Spurs boss couldn’t resist a typically barbed comment.
“It was a fantastic performance, we deserved the points. [Karl] Darlow, [the Newcastle goalkeeper], he was the man-of-the-match, unless you want to give that to somebody who isn’t a player,” quipped Mourinho.
The converted penalty was the only shot on target that Newcastle had, and Mourinho showed his despair by suggesting the “Spursy” culture of mishaps was in some way sinister.
“I don’t want to speak about it,” he said.
“The only feeling I am ready to share is I don’t feel Tottenham is respected. There is no respect. It’s my feeling.
“It is the third club I am managing in the country. I am so happy, I would not change it for any other job in the world.
“I feel we deserve more respect for everything that the club has done and wants to do in the future. I’m very happy with my team and that is the most important thing.”
Despite the awful ending, Tottenham will lament not putting Newcastle to the sword in a dominant first half display that threatened a rugby score.
How it remained only one-nil was down to the inspired goalkeeping of Darlow, who made three audacious saves that he had no real right to get near.
The opening 45 minutes was attack against defence, with Heung-Min Son hitting the woodwork twice, Harry Kane forcing Darlow into save after save, and Dier steering a header wide when it was easier to score.
It was as if the constant pressure Spurs were applying made them lackadaisical – as if each opportunity that did not end up nestling in the net was not a problem, because another would be along shortly.
It was one of the best first halves of Mourinho’s reign, yet only Lucas Moura’s 25th-minute tap-in from a low Kane cross separated the sides.
In the second period Newcastle were no more of a threat, but they did enjoy a bit more of the ball.
Son, always a danger, had failed to emerge for the second half – afterwards, it was reported he had a tight hamstring and Mourinho believes the attacker could be out “for some time”.
Then came Steve Bruce’s last roll of the dice in the shape of substitute Carroll, who was sent on to try and get his head on anything lumped forward.
What followed were the four brazenly incorrect decisions: Newcastle awarded a highly spurious free-kick, which was lofted into the box. It looked like both Carroll and Federico Fernandez were offside, before Carroll got his head on it and directed the ball aimlessly towards Dier.
Dier was jumping, facing the other way, and two-yards off Carroll: he was shoved by Lascelles and the ball glanced the top of the back of his arm. He was no where near goal and simply did not alter the outcome of that period of play.
Spurs went up the other end to see the game out – and then came the VAR horror show that ended in a shambles of a penalty.
This extra pair of eyes is still a work in progress, and perhaps can become, eventually, after tweaking, an accepted part of the game for blatant injustices.
But the new handball rule is so ridiculous, the Premier League must review it as a matter of urgency.
As Mourinho stormed down the tunnel before the final whistle was blown – later saying he was too experienced to have let himself have words with the officials on the touchline – you could sense the famously acidic tongue in his head getting ready to spit venom.
Mourinho’s post match rants have become part of the Premier League furniture down the years, and have lost their potency along the way, as they are expected.
But today, for once, Mourinho deserved the sympathy.
Spurs: Lloris, Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Winks, Moura (Lamela, 79), Lo Celso (Ndombele, 77), Son (Bergwijn, 45), Kane
Substitutes not used: Hart, Reguilon, Alderweireld, Fernandes
Newcastle: Darlow, Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie (Lewis, 69), Almiron (Carroll, 77), Shelvey, Hendrick (Murphy, 74), Joelinton, Wilson
Substitutes not used: Yedlin, Krafth, Gillespie, Longstaff