Cesar Azpilicueta admits he was baffled by referee Anthony Taylor’s decision not to send off Sadio Mane for an apparent elbow during the pulsating 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Super Sunday.
Blues captain Azpilicueta was caught with a leading arm by the Senegalese after just six seconds of the Premier League showdown at Stamford Bridge but referee Taylor only brandished a yellow card.
The incident was reviewed by VAR Darren England but no further action was deemed appropriate, to the disbelief of Azpilicueta.
“It’s a clear red,” Azpilicueta told Sky Sports. “I don’t mind if it’s five seconds into the game, it’s the first action and it’s a clear red.
“He doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball, he just wants to lead with the elbow. I honestly don’t understand it. We’ve had these types of decisions recently. The other day, we had two penalties where VAR wasn’t used.
“It was a clear red card and we’re getting these decisions against us which could change the course of the games.
“Always they will say what they think and I understand we’re promoting challenges but sometimes we’re seeing joke penalties given and sometimes we see very dangerous actions and they don’t take action.
“We don’t see consistency even within the same game, and to me it’s clear a decision, like this is clear. I watched the replay, but I didn’t need to. It was a clear red.”
Carragher: It’s an ‘orange’ card
Jamie Carragher said he didn’t feel the action deserved the most extreme punishment.
“I think it’s one of those ones which comes into the ‘orange’ category,” the former Liverpool defender told Sky Sports. “After six seconds… if the point of his elbow gets him rather than his forearm, I think he’s going off.
“I think the fact that it’s his forearm – it’s almost closer to his wrist than his elbow – possibly saves him, and the fact that it’s after six seconds.
“It’s one of those which is worse than a yellow, but I don’t think it’s quite a red.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink strongly disagreed with Carragher’s point of view, believing it was an easy decision to send off Mane.
“Are you serious? Have you got your Red head on, or your football head on?” he responded. “A footballer knows where an opponent is.
“It’s a red card – forget about six seconds. He goes with his elbow and he’s endangering the player. The Premier League and PGMOL are going to come out and provide words to try to justify their decision with an explanation. It’s a red card.”
Carragher defended the decision of referee Anthony Taylor, but Graeme Souness sided with Hasselbaink
“It is a sending off,” said Souness. “I think he leads with the elbow. It is dangerous.
“It is violent, for me. Look where the ball is when he hits him. The ball is nowhere near when he hits him. Smack. He has led with his arm. That is a sending-off. End of.”
Gary Neville said: “The Chelsea manager doesn’t think he should be on the pitch. It’s not a great one from Mane. It’s six seconds into the game and maybe that’s what helps him.
“I don’t think he looks at Azpilicueta and rocks his elbow back as if he really meant it. The elbow has made contact into Azpilicueta’s face. I don’t think Mane’s done it on purpose.”
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Chelsea host Tottenham on Wednesday at 7.45pm before Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Thursday at 7.45pm in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup – both live on Sky Sports Football.
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Source : Sky Sports