Antonio Conte Takes Aim At VAR “Damage” As Tottenham Hotspur Made To Wait For Champions League Progress


Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said VAR is doing “damage” to football after he was sent off for protesting Harry Kane’s disallowed stoppage time strike in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. Spurs looked set for the Champions League last 16 when the England captain scored in the 95th minute. But after a review lasting over three minutes, the goal was disallowed for offside, sparking fury from Conte.

The Italian was shown a red card by Dutch referee Danny Makkelie, meaning he is likely to be banned from the touchline when Tottenham visit Marseille on Tuesday.

Conte’s men still lead Group D by a point from Sporting and Eintracht Frankfurt, but all four teams in the section can still qualify.

A point will be enough for Spurs in southern France to progress, while Sporting also just need a draw to go through when they host Frankfurt.

“I think VAR is creating a lot of damage,” Conte told BT Sport.

“I want to see if we are in another big stadium, another big team, if they are ready to disallow this type of goal?

“When you invent this kind of situation it is incredible. You create a lot of damage to clubs.”

Tottenham had been forced the come from behind after ex-Spurs forward Marcus Edwards opened the scoring for Sporting.

Rodrigo Bentancur levelled 10 minutes from time and the home side thought they had snatched victory at the death.

Kane was adjudged to have been just in front of the ball from Emerson Royal’s header despite the Brazilian heading the ball backwards across goal before it struck a Sporting defender.

– ‘No clue’ –

“A few of us don’t have a clue what happened,” said Tottenham defender Matt Doherty.

“I thought because it went backwards and hit a defender it was a different phase of play. I’ll have to look at the rule book.

“If we’re being honest we didn’t play that well. We’re top of the group. It’s not how we wanted the night to go, but it’s still in our hands.”

A point was the least that Sporting deserved after enjoying the better of the chances until the closing stages.

Conte has called on the Spurs’ board to further strengthen his squad in the January transfer window after back-to-back defeats dampened their bright start to the Premier League season.

However, it was a Tottenham academy graduate discarded by the club at a young age that was the star of the opening 45 minutes.

Edwards made just one appearance for his boyhood club before leaving to make his career in Portugal, firstly with Vitoria Guimaraes, before making the move to Sporting and came back to haunt his old club with a fine strike into the bottom corner on 22 minutes.

As the hosts laboured to find a way back into the game without the injured Dejan Kulusevki and Richarlison, Sporting should have been out of sight.

Hugo Lloris made amends for any questions over his positioning for the opening goal to save a one-on-one with Flavio Nazinho.

Moments later Nazinho slotted wide with the goal gaping after Lloris parried Pedro Porro’s initial effort.

Sporting boss Ruben Amorim soon had his head in his hands as Bentancur outjumped goalkeeper Antonio Adan to head in Ivan Perisic’s corner.

Eric Dier then should have followed Edwards’ lead to come to haunt his former club.

Promoted

Twice the England defender headed wide glorious chances from point-blank range.

Sporting had kept Harry Kane and Son Heung-min quiet for the 90 minutes and were handed a reprieve at the death when Kane did get a sight of goal to leave Tottenham with work to do in Marseille in six days’ time.

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