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VAR controversy dominated Spurs-Chelsea clash

Huge VAR controversy: Two Chelsea players escape red cards in heated 1st half vs Tottenham

February 26, 2023 By Ali M.
Thiago Silva was caught on camera elbowing an opponent while Hakim Ziyech was initially sent off for striking Emerson Royal in the face before that card was eventually rescinded.

Tottenham vs Chelsea is a fixture that never disappoints and the first half of their Saturday encounter continued this trend.

While it was not the best spectacle in terms of creativity and chance creation, it was a heated affair, with players clashing and tackles coming in from left, right, and center.

However, this sparked controversy from the fans as two Chelsea players were deemed to have crossed the line yet were not sent off.

The first was Thiago Silva. During a corner kick, the Brazilian defender got embroiled in a tussle with Cristian Romero, but while the Stamford Bridge ace was only shoved, the Tottenham defender was elbowed by Silva in retaliation.

The Argentine was left on the floor, clutching his jaw in pain. However, despite this incident being caught on camera, VAR opted against intervening and let Thiago, who later went off injured, off the hook.

The second controversy took place just before halftime. After Richarlison was fouled by both Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, tempers flared. Ziyech then reacted angrily to being barged by Emerson Royal and thus went to shove the Brazilian but ended up striking the defender in the face along the way.

After a short discussion with his assistant, referee Stuart Atwell booked a number of players before showing the aforementioned Moroccan attacker a straight red card. However, things became confusing from then as the player was asked to remain on the touchline as VAR requested a review from the match official.

After watching the replay, Atwell decided to reverse his decision and booked Ziyech instead, sparking applause from certain fans and anger from others. Check out the incident in the clips below (videos are geo-restricted).

Should this have been a sending off or was Atwell justified in rescinding the red card? This, just likely many other incidents in this bitter rivalry, will likely be debated for the forseeable future.

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