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VAR causes controversy in Carabao Cup semi-final


London, Jan 9: The implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system may rule out refereeing errors, but there is no doubt that its implementation has come with serious teething problems as witnessed in the Carabao Cup semi-final between Tottenham and Chelsea.

The introduction of VAR in Italy last season stirred up a controversy, while this season in Spain the system has caused confusion over when it should be used. Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari commented on Tuesday that when he is watching games he is not always sure what is happening with the VAR, reports Xinhua news agency.

The first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Tottenham and Chelsea on Tuesday did nothing to end the debate. The game ended 1-0 for Tottenham thanks to a VAR influenced decision which left neither coach happy.

Harry Kane won the decisive penalty after being brought down by Kepa Arrizabalaga, after the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside against the Tottenham striker.

After the VAR review Kane was ruled onside and duly smashed home the only goal of the game to leave Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri furious.

"Our camera was in line with Harry Kane and he was offside with the head and the knee… Maybe the VAR camera was in a different position. But from our position, he was clearly offside."

Sarri also explained that "the linesman stopped running with play," after flagging for offside and said that "he had a big impact on our defenders."

"I don't think English referees are able to use the VAR system. If you are not sure with the system, you have to follow the ball and at the end of the action decide," he said.

The VAR is not yet used in the Premier League and will come into operation in the 2019-20 season, but the Chelsea boss spoke from experience and predicted problems.

"In Italy, there is VAR and in the first season, it was a disaster. The referees did not know how to use the system. I think at the moment the referees (here) are not ready to use the system in the right way," he said.

Sarri had the sympathy of Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, who said that although it was "nice" to get the decision he was "unhappy to win the game like this."

"I am pro technology because you cannot stop evolution," he said, but added that he didn't like VAR.

"After watching it at the World Cup and in another league like La Liga, I see nobody is happy from day one that they started to use it. It is a system that sometimes kills the emotions. I didn't celebrate tonight because we were waiting five minutes."

However, one man who is embracing the system is Harry Kane.

"It was a clear penalty. VAR is there for a reason and they got it right. I'm used to it after the World Cup, it's a big part of football going forwards," he commented.  

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