Tottenham 1-1 Sporting Lisbon: Antonio Conte furious as VAR rules out late winner


Antonio Conte was sent off in the deep playoffs against Sporting Lisbon

From dancing on the touchline to screaming in despair, Tottenham’s Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon produced an emotionally charged end for boss Antonio Conte.

But the celebrations stopped, the referee consulted the video assistant referee and, after a long wait, the goal was ruled out.

A furious Conte was sent off when he reacted. Instead of winning 2-1, Spurs drew 1-1.

This could be a huge moment in Tottenham’s Champions League campaign – they must travel to Marseille next week and avoid defeat if they are to progress.

“This decision causes a lot of damage, I hope the club understands this,” said a fired-up Conte after the match. “I think the club must be strong. I repeat that this situation creates a lot of damage.”

“Some of us have no clue what happened”

Harry Kane's late strike was ruled out by VAR
Harry Kane thought he had scored a stunning winner for Tottenham before VAR intervened

The controversial moment came in the 95th minute when Kane headed home after Emerson Royal headed the ball into his path through a deflection off a defender.

However, VAR determined that Kane was in an offside position when the ball was played to him and, despite protests from several Spurs players, on-field referee Danny Makkelie would not decide to overturn the decision.

“I think you can see from the celebrations we thought we won. I don’t really know what happened at the end,” Tottenham defender Matt Doherty told BT Sport.

“I thought it was a different phase of the game because he went backwards and hit a defender. I’ll have to look at the rulebook. Some of us don’t know what happened.”

“I don’t see any honesty in this situation”

The decision will be all the more disappointing for Conte as it comes just days after Tottenham got the wrong end of another controversial VAR decision.

On Sunday, Spurs’ opponents Newcastle were awarded their opening goal after a lengthy VAR review before winning 2-1.

At the time, Conte declined to comment on VAR, instead directing a message to the club’s management, asking for money, time and patience to make Tottenham truly competitive.

But after Wednesday’s game, he couldn’t hold back his feelings on the matter.

“I’d like to see if you can make decisions like that in an important game with an important team,” he said. “I would like to see if VAR is so brave to make this decision.

“The ball is in Kane’s court. I’m sorry but I’m very upset because you can appreciate the situation. I don’t see honesty in this kind of situation. When I don’t see this, I get very angry. .”

“VAR is prolonging the raw emotion of the game”

Tottenham
Fans, players and officials endured a long wait as Tottenham’s final goal was reviewed by VAR.

Former Blackburn and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton understood Conte’s frustrations, but he also believed Tottenham should not be late in their search for a winner.

“I get grief over the decision, the more I look at it, the more I see,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But Spurs were very passive in the first half and very far away. If they had started the way they did in the second half, this would have been very one-sided.

“It’s a big moment because they have to go to Marseille, which is a really hostile place, and get a result. They’re under pressure.”

Everton winger Andros Townsend, formerly of Spurs, added on 5 Live: “For me, whether it’s offside or offside, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like VAR because of that, as a football fan, you’re killing the raw emotion of the game.

“You’ve seen Conte running on the pitch, injured players running on the pitch. Harry Kane has gone mad, the fans have gone mad. And then 10 minutes later the goal is disallowed. That’s not football. Football. It’s about raw emotion.

“Slowly VAR is stretching the raw emotion of the game we love.”

How to follow Tottenham on the BBC bannerFoot of Tottenham banner