The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has admitted VAR made a mistake in Tottenham’s controversial 2-1 win over Brighton on Saturday.
Referee chief Howard Webb contacted Brighton to apologize for the mistake.
A thrilling match that pitted two contenders for European football against each other saw numerous controversies, one of which came in the 72nd minute with the game tied 1-1.
Brighton penalty claims denied
Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma, controlling the ball off a deflected corner, jumped up in the air while searching for an opportunity to get his shot off.
However, Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg stomped on Mitoma’s foot as he landed. Lead referee Stuart Atwell waved off penalty shouts from Brighton players, and a VAR check seemingly backed Atwell up.
The Seagulls have had a lot of bad luck concerning VAR; from 10 decisions involving VAR, only two have gone their way.
If VAR had reversed Atwell’s decision, Brighton would likely go 2-1 up and win the match. Instead, Tottenham won the game thanks to a Højbjerg cut-back that found an un-marked Harry Kane. The loss took Brighton’s odds of qualifying for the Champions League from 22% down to 10%, per FiveThirtyEight.
The game was packed with drama.
Brighton had two goals chalked off; one in the 17th minute because of Mitoma allegedly hit the ball with his hand while scoring and one in the 55th minute because Alexis MacAllister deflected in Danny Welbeck’s shot with his hand.
De Zerbi and Stellini clash
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and Spurs caretaker Cristian Stellini both earned red cards for a touchline scuffle that saw both coaching staffs exchange heated words and shoves.
Although Stellini did not scuffle, Atwell chose to send him off because of his role in instigating the fight.
Tottenham opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a stunning Heung-min Son goal.
Lewis Dunk responded in the 34th minute, rising over Ivan Perisic to get his head onto a Solly March cross.
Brighton will play Chelsea away from home on Saturday to try to break into the top six, while Spurs will play relegation candidates Bournemouth at home on Saturday.
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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