In Brief

Spurs seal controversial win against Chelsea after Harry Kane’s VAR penalty

Tottenham take a narrow lead into the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final

Carabao Cup semi-final first leg Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 0  

Spurs beat Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Wembley last night but the victory didn’t come without controversy.

The only goal of the game came on 26 minutes when Tottenham were awarded a penalty after Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga felled Harry Kane as the England striker ran onto a long ball from Toby Alderweireld.

The Chelsea players claimed Kane was offside. Referee Michael Oliver referred the decision to the video assistant referee (VAR). It was ruled that Kane wasn’t offside and made no mistake with the spot-kick.

“I played to the whistle,” said Kane. “I ran through and it was a clear penalty. It was whether I was offside or not. I wasn’t sure. VAR is there for a reason and I’m sure they’ve got it right.”

Informed that Chelsea were adamant he was offside, Kane replied: “I’ll have to watch it back and see. I’m used to it after the World Cup, it’s a big part of football going forwards. From our point of view, it doesn’t change much.”

Video nasty

But the Blues wouldn’t let it lie in the post-match press conference. Head coach Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sports that the club’s own recording of the match proved Kane was offside when he collected Alderweireld’s pass.

“I saw the video from our camera a few minutes ago, it was offside,” said Sarri. “Our camera was in line with Kane, and it was offside, but it’s not important.

“It was important that the linesman stopped the run, he didn’t follow the ball, so he had a big influence on our defenders. At the moment I think the English referees aren’t able to use the system.”

Sarri finds it strange

A philosophical Sarri was at pains to avoid pinning too much blame on Oliver and his officials. Instead he queried why VAR was used in English cup competitions but not in the Premier League.

He added: “In Italy in the first period it was difficult to understand, but it’s very strange how in the Premier League there isn’t this system and it is in the Carabao Cup. It’s strange for us, the players and the referees.”

Blues upbeat

Despite the defeat, Sarri left Wembley in an upbeat mood. The Italian is quietly confident his boys can turn around the tie when the second leg unfolds at Stamford Bridge on 22 January.

“If we can play on the same level then we can do it,” he said, when asked about Chelsea’s chances of reaching the final. “We played with a very good level of determination, with heart and soul.”

Carabao Cup results and fixtures

Semi-final first legs
  • Last night: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 0 
  • Tonight: Manchester City vs. Burton Albion (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports)
Semi-final second legs
  • Tuesday 22 January: Burton Albion vs. Manchester City; Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Agg 0-1)

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