VAR saves Tottenham Hotspur. A familiar phrase in the last 12 months. After Raheem Sterlings’ VAR heartbreak in the Champions League quarter-final last season, Gabriel Jesus felt that pain at the Etihad.
Billed as a game where Tottenham could show their title credentials, Manchester City were left frustrated and feeling aggrieved.
VAR Saves Tottenham Hotspur Once More
Tottenham Hold on Thanks to VAR
The second game of the season gave Tottenham and Manchester City a chance to battle once more. City cruised to a 5-0 victory on the opening day against West Ham United and it looked like Tottenham would suffer a similar fate at the Etihad stadium.
Just as the last time the teams met here, VAR took centre stage.
VAR Not Used – Penalty for City?
VAR is to be used for ‘clear and obvious errors’ by the officials on the pitch. On 17 minutes, Rodrigo went down with Erik Lamela climbing all over him. It looked a clear penalty and Lamela was lucky as VAR was not used. You will struggle to see a more blatant penalty and it raises questions about those in charge of VAR. If not a penalty then should Rodrigo not be booked for ‘simulation’?
Raheem Sterling put Manchester City ahead before the 20th minute. A delightful cross from Kevin De Bruyne found Sterling at the back post and he headed home. As good as the cross was, it was abysmal from Tottenham. Davinson Sanchez was in no man’s land and Sterling has the freedom of Manchester when he nodded home.
Tottenham Park the Bus
Watching Tottenham in the first 25 minutes looked like Jose Mourinho has taken charge. There was no ambition, no attacking intent and Harry Kane may as well have been in the stands. Hugo Lloris was guilty of miss kicks, Toby Alderweireld was slack and only Danny Rose and Kyle Walker-Peters looked anywhere near awake. Christian Eriksen looked like a player not interested in playing for Tottenham and it was Tanguy Ndombele doing all the talking, telling his team mates to calm down.
Erik Lamela – Enigma
Erik Lamela got away with not giving away a penalty. Just before half an hour, he scored. It was a speculative shot, almost a pass back but it deceived Ederson and Tottenham somehow were level.
Sergio Aguero restored City’s lead with both Sanchez and Alderweireld in asleep again. It was Lamela who would provide another pivotal moment.
Lucas Moura had been left on the bench but within 19 seconds of entering the fray, he leapt and powered home a header from Lamela’s corner. The Tottenham fans were in ecstasy. The City fans were in disbelief.
VAR Saves Tottenham
Raheem Sterling and the Etihad know all about scoring winning goals only to have them taken away by VAR. With the clock ticking, Gabriel Jesus scored a deserved winner. Yet as the fans, players and managers went into raptures, VAR came to the rescue for Tottenham again. Laporte went to head the ball but it brushed his arm before falling to Jesus. VAR said no goal and Tottenham were saved.
Manchester City had 30 shots. Tottenham had three. The result does not reflect the domination of the Manchester club. Tottenham showed resolve to get a draw. Pep Guardiola is left scratching his head as to how his side didn’t win comfortably.
Mauricio Pochettino has a lot of work to do. Tottenham got a point but they look a long way away from a side that can challenge for the title.