Waterloo Region Record

Man City, Spurs discover high bar for Video Assistant Referee on penalty calls


LONDON — With Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in its third weekend in soccer’s Premier League, Manchester City and Tottenham now know just how high the threshold is for penalty calls to be overturned by video reviews.

City was denied a penalty even when Bournemout­h midfielder Jefferson Lerma stood on David Silva’s foot. The champions were leading at the time and Sergio Aguero went on to score his second goal in a 3-1 win.

But Tottenham had no such good fortune against Newcastle later on Sunday. Trailing to Joelinton’s goal, Tottenham thought it had a late chance to grab an equalizer when Harry Kane tumbled after being impeded in the penalty area by Jamaal Lascelles.

But referee Mike Dean had already let play continue without awarding a spot kick. And when the VAR review finally took place, the original decision was not overruled and Newcastle won 1-0.

Tottenham lost its first match of the season a week after VAR did help the London club gain a point at the Etihad Stadium when a City handball was spotted in the run-up to what looked like being Gabriel Jesus’ winner.

City manager Pep Guardiola is exasperate­d by how VAR is being applied.

“It was clear hands last game, clear hands. A penalty today? No, please,” Guardiola said sarcastica­lly. “The challenge this season will be amazing for us after winning back-to-back two titles, the challenge will be great.”

There was one penalty awarded on Sunday, enabling Wolverhamp­ton to grab a stoppage time equalizer against Burnley.

Unlike in the City and Tottenham games, referee Craig Pawson had already pointed to the spot when Raúl Jiménez was fouled by Erik Pieters. Jiménez netted from the spot to cancel out Ashley Barnes’ strike and seal a 1-1 draw for Wolves.

Silva service

On his 400th City appearance, David Silva was as influentia­l as ever in pulling the strings for his team.

With City already leading through Aguero’s strike, Silva slipped in the ball for Sterling to get his fifth goal in three league games.

It came just before Harry Wilson scored directly from a brilliant free kick to reduce the deficit back to a single goal before halftime.

Then, after Silva was denied a penalty after being caught by Lerma, the Spaniard jinked into the penalty area to set up Aguero for City’s third.

“He has a sense to move between the lines like nobody else in the world,” Guardiola said of Silva. “He is a fighter.”

Uncertain future

Tottenham looks to Christen Eriksen to unpick teams like Silva does for City. That’s when the Dane is starting.

Just like in the opening game against Aston Villa, Eriksen was only deployed in the second half as doubts linger over his future ahead of the transfer window closing on the continent in a week.

“It is so difficult the situation,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

Unlike against Villa, when Eriksen’s arrival inspired a comeback, Tottenham couldn’t find a way to break through a resolute Newcastle.

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