that’s what it was.
Spurs F.A. Cup fifth round replay descended into farce as VAR reared it’s ugly head to make even those pro-technology doubt it should be brought in… and then there was the snow.
I’ve only seen VAR used in three countries, German, Italy and England. I’ve yet to hear anyone say they like it, the players don’t seem impressed, the fans at the grounds don’t like it, the fans at home don’t like it, even the commentators don’t like it.
The F.A. Cup replay between Spurs and Rochdale won’t have done anything to change their minds.
So Rochdale had their day out at the national stadium, but even with the help of the Clattenburg mini-me and an idiot in a truck somewhere looking at what can only have been a dodgy foreign stream, they couldn’t stop Spurs stuffing the romance of the cup.
They got lucky, what ended up as a 6-1 defeat could have been, should have been, much, much worse for the lower league side. When the ref and VAR intervened on Spurs celebrations seven minutes in after Lamela had “put the home side ahead”, it was a sign of things to come. While the little man in black stood there with his finger in his ear nobody knew what was going on. A quick look at the pictures showed Llorente and the defender holding each other, the Spurs striker then being fouled as he rode a challenge before laying on Lamela. This for some unknown reason led to the goal being disallowed… some time later.
About a quarter of an hour later the next bizarre VAR decision. A jinking run by Moura into the box and he’s bounced off the ball. Anywhere else on the park, it’s a foul. But computer says no.
Son did opening the scoring a minute later, this time they looked and looked but could find no reason to chalk it off. Good to see the Korean back on the scoresheet after a bit of a barren spell, should get his confidence back up. It should have been 3-0 minutes, it should have been 4-0 minutes later. This time VAR did get at least something correct. Trippier was fouled outside the area but the fouling continued as he entered the area so it’s a penalty. After another age the correct decision was given, after the pipsqueak initially signalled for just the free-kick.
In his run up for the pen, Son feinted then took another step and “scored”. Back to finger in ear and waiting about. And it’s chalked off, while Son is shown a yellow card. You’re allowed to feint during a run up, keepers aren’t allowed to come off their line and players aren’t allowed in the box before the kick is taken. The latter two occurred, so why was the former penalised?
What should have been 4-0 was suddenly 1-1, as a hump over the top saw Rochdale equalise. Poch was not a happy bunny. The ref had his finger in his ear again and the snow was falling. It was nearly 1-2 as Spurs fannyied about at the back, you know like they did in the first game, a tactic that worked so well for them then.
The first half finished on the 50 minute mark. All down to a berk standing there with his finger in his ear, he was doing it right to the end as he checked if a yellow for Lamela should have been a red.
The second half was just a couple of minutes old when Spurs finally made it 2-1. Llorente with a glorious chip over the keeper after a nice run and pass from Moura. The little Brazilian was showing he can do it on a cold, snowy, Wednesday, maybe not in Stoke, but it was cold enough for it. Again they had to check with VAR to see if Llorente had got off the mark in the Cup, he had.
Shortly after he had his hat-trick. Took him 12 minutes in total, split evenly. So six minutes later he tapped in Moura’s excellent cross. The Brazilian started it, onto Son, he kept going and the Korean returned the ball for him to cross. You could see the confidence in Llorente rise. So six minutes later it was no surprise when he got his third.
Sissoko was played the ball down the right as he flew into the box, played it to Son who got to the byline and chipped the ball from there, which Llorente nodded home. The perfect hat-trick. So, really is the only one that regularly gets to the byline and gets balls across from there, it creates chances and they should do it more often.
By now the game was becoming a mobile spot the ball competition with the falling snow. Really hard to see what was going on but you could see Lamela playing in Son for a tap in for the fifth. The Korean had given the VAR signal in his celebration for an earlier Llorente goal…
you're welcome pic.twitter.com/BlzjTX9YBG
— Jin Seo (@JinSeo1008) February 28, 2018
Good to see him back to his smiling best.
With all the time added on for the various VAR stoppages in the second half it gave time for the substitute Kyle Walker-Peters to get in on the act scoring his first goal, Spurs sixth. Which means so far in all competitions this season Kyle Walker-Peters has scored more goals than Kyle Walker.
Moura, Lamela, Son and Llorente had good nights, yes it was only Rochdale but Lamela is just returning from a long injury, Moura is finding his feet in English football and hasn’t played much this season at all, while Son and Llorente are trying to regain a bit of lost confidence. It’s especially good news that Llorente is now scoring, all those moaners asking what is the point of him. Winks didn’t have the best game, it can’t have helped having Sissoko alongside him but the Frenchman has started the games in which Spurs have struggled since the turn of the year but he was rarely seen that much but as one commentator put it “He’s got all the pace, just doesn’t have the talent to go with it.”
The only surprise on the night was the game wasn’t called off… by the VAR…it’ll be what this game is remembered for and hopefully it’ll be nail in its coffin if this is the way it’s gonna be…