'It was shambolic!' How VAR chaos unfolded at Tottenham
Dele Alli's late equaliser was awarded by the on-field referee but the big screen said it had been chalked off
Last Updated: 19/10/19 8:05pm
Quique Sanchez Flores called it "weird" while Soccer Saturday's Phil Thompson blasted it as "shambolic" as VAR malfunction caused confusion at Tottenham.
Dele Alli was on hand to net a 86th-minute equaliser for Tottenham in their 1-1 draw with Watford. Alli earned his side a point after Hornets keeper Ben Foster made a mess of a cross which allowed Alli to control the ball with his shoulder and fire home from a tight angle.
The goal was reviewed by VAR and it was decided to award the goal with referee Chris Kavanagh signalling for the players to head back to the centre circle. It was decided that Alli's goal did not hit his hand so it was therefore allowed to stand.
However, the big screen indicated that the decision was "no goal" which triggered huge celebrations in the Watford end and confused faces from everyone else either inside the stadium or watching on. Kavanagh looked confused with the on-screen call too but after another quick check with his VAR assistant via his headset, he confirmed the goal had been awarded.
Although we haven't had official word from the Premier League, they, rather than the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, were responsible for the malfunction and the release of the wrong message.
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Thommo: It was shambolic!
Phil Thompson was in the Soccer Saturday studio to provide updates on the match and the late goal caused huge stress for the analyst.
He said: "It was so confusing it was untrue. We're all laughing but this is serious business. The ball bounces in the box, and Kiko Femenia takes Ben Foster out of the game by getting his head onto it.
"Dele Alli puts it into the net and straightaway you feel it's going to go to VAR. You're wondering if Dele Alli has pushed Femenia, but he hasn't.
"When you see the real reason why, you see that Alli catches the ball at the top of his arm. I thought it wouldn't be given as he moved his arm to the ball. We know that anything like that where it hits the arm it's no goal. I'm waiting and thinking this has got to be disallowed.
"Then I saw the referee has pointed to the centre-spot, while up on the big screen the VAR check says it's 'No Goal'. I was so confused. This was shambolic, and you can tell from Dele Alli's demeanour that he thought this was going to be chalked off.
"How they haven't come to the correct decision I do not know. This should've been about the incident and the goal should've been ruled out for handball. That should've been the end of it.
"The ball hits Alli high up on the arm and it should've been disallowed. There were two VAR decisions elsewhere - one on Danny Rose and another on Gerard Deulofeu, which in my decision should've been a penalty kick. You thought VAR would clear all this confusion up."
What the managers said
Mauricio Pochettino said: "[The big screen messaging is] nothing to do with us, it's dependent on the Premier League. We don't manage that situation. But of course I understand that it was a little bit confusing and it was tough for Quique, because he thought it was no goal. But it's not Tottenham's responsibility, it's the Premier League's responsibility and of course like everyone, maybe the guy who pressed the button made a mistake.
"Everyone can make a mistake. The most important thing is when you check the goal, it was a goal, it came off his shoulder and I think it was legal. Nothing to say, but I can understand that for Watford, Quique and their players I feel so, so bad."
Quique Sanchez Flores said: "I think there's a foul from Harry Kane on [Christian] Kabasele. He pushed him with two hands. That is my opinion.
"We are losing something, I don't know. It is very weird. Now there are many interpretations and it is difficult to know what happens in secret (where VAR decisions are made).
"I was thinking that VAR was something objective, but I'm starting to think it's subjective."
Dele Alli on the goal
Alli said: "Of course it was a relief. There were two times where he stopped before he finally made the decision. At the start, I wasn't too sure what he was stopping it for and then when he told me I was just waiting to see.
"In my head, I didn't feel like it had hit my hand, but then you start questioning whether it did or not. I'm happy to get the goal but disappointed we didn't get the win today."