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Ref Watch: Dermot's VAR verdict

Sky Sports - tor, 01/03/2018 - 00:00
Dermot Gallagher mounted a defence of the VAR system he says made the "right decisions" in disallowing a goal and awarding a penalty during Tottenham's 6-1 win over Rochdale in their FA Cup fifth-round replay on Wednesday.

Poch: VAR confusion was embarrassing

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 23:50
​​​​​​​Mauricio Pochettino says the VAR confusion in the first half of Tottenham's 6-1 FA Cup win over Rochdale was "embarrassing" and fears it could kill emotion in the game.

Fernando Llorente and VAR grab the attention as Spurs end Rochdale dream

Guardian - ons, 28/02/2018 - 22:54

It was a game of two halves, but with a twist. Spurs romped home in the second period with a cocky display on a carpet of snow to set up a quarter-final at Swansea. The first half belonged to VAR. The video assistant disallowed a goal, turned a free-kick into a penalty and provided half a dozen excruciating interruptions in which referee Paul Tierney stood forlornly with his finger in his ear.

As far as the football went, a hat-trick for Fernando Llorente was accompanied by two from Son Heung-min and a first goal for Kyle Walker-Peters, while Stephen Humphrys scored a sweet goal for Rochdale to temporarily level the scores at 1-1. Talk among the shivering Wembley crowd of under 25,000, though, was of technology, its effectiveness and why it took so long to reach a decision.

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale: FA Cup fifth-round replay – live!

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Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 Rochdale: FA Cup fifth-round replay – as it happened

Guardian - ons, 28/02/2018 - 22:48

Fernando Llorente was Tottenham’s hat-trick hero on a snowy night at Wembley.

10.41pm GMT

Related: Fernando Llorente scores hat-trick as Spurs end Rochdale’s Cup dream

9.45pm GMT

And so a wild evening, in more ways than one, comes to an end. Tottenham Hotspur will travel to Swansea City in the quarter finals, while Rochdale return to their League One relegation struggle. Spurs were worthy winners, with Fernando Llorente scoring a perfect hat-trick. Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura were also majestic. But spare a thought for Rochdale, who deservedly went in level at half-time against one of the best sides in Europe. It didn’t quite work out for them in the end, but it’s been a brilliant cup run for the Dale. Heroes all. The latest noise surrounding the pros and cons of VAR won’t obscure that.

9.42pm GMT

Walker-Peters Ricky Villas his way in from the left. He lays off to Alli, who returns the ball with a clever reverse pass down the channel. Walker-Peters is clear in the box. He slams towards the bottom left, and in it goes off Lillis.

9.38pm GMT

90 min: There will be three minutes added for stoppages. It’s been some night, huh?

9.37pm GMT

89 min: Spurs stroke it around the back, running down the clock, their work done. “I’m an American fan of both kinds of football: Jets and Spurs, so I’m used to disappointment,” begins Ron Stack. “VAR is a terrible idea, and not just because it was applied poorly and to Spurs’ detriment on a cold, snowy night. The NFL has baked all sorts of reviews into the game, and it’s horrible. Not only does it make a slow game even slower, it doesn’t make the fans feel better about the outcome. Referees’ mistakes balance out over time. The integrity of the game is not in issue.”

9.35pm GMT

87 min: A corner for Rochdale down the right. McGahey meets it with his head, but his effort is way off target. “I hope the fans who travelled down from the Dale have a better view than me - I can barely see the ball thanks to the snow,” reports John Culkin. “It’s a little sad for the tie to finish looking like a bit of a drubbing, but as a long suffering Dale fan, watching them perform so well, and inspire a little genuine hope that we might pull off something amazing - it has been really brilliant. But VAR can do one.”

9.33pm GMT

85 min: In the interests of VAR balance, and to be scrupulously fair there’s been none in this MBM, here’s Rick McGahey: “Why all this moaning about VAR? Surely if they can get the timing right, it is an improvement. Does everyone long for the days when keepers could pick up a pass from a teammate? For no substitutions? Tennis uses Hawkeye very well, PL seems to be reviewing too many obvious situations with VAR and then lacking a protocol for quick decisions. But why don’t you want something to help refs make correct decisions?”

9.32pm GMT

83 min: A free kick for Rochdale, out on the right. Camps hooks it into the mixer. Henderson tries to recreate Keith Houchen’s diving header that did for Spurs in the 1987 final. It’s straight at Vorm, keeping Vorm, er, warm.

9.31pm GMT

82 min: The magnificent Lucas Moura makes way for Kyle Walker-Peters. Meanwhile several members of the groundstaff storm the pitch and clear the lines of snow with shovels and other appropriate tools. Not before time, you could argue. Much cheering greets them, from both sets of fans.

9.27pm GMT

80 min: “Just imagine what Harry Kane would achieve if Gareth Beale called him a donkey,” coos Cian O’Mahony.

9.26pm GMT

78 min: The snow continues to fall. To the travelling Rochdale faithful’s immense credit, they’re still making a hell of a racket. And they’ll always have Spotland, and that wild, wild, wild first half.

9.24pm GMT

76 min: Cannon is replaced by the 16-year-old Rochdale prospect Dan Adshead. “Who can see the ball?” asks John Addis. “While VAR makes everyone wait in the snow to make the wrong decision, there’s snow all over the pitch and no one thinks to change the now invisible ball to orange. As a famous band once sang, the modern world is rubbish.”

9.21pm GMT

73 min: Lamela curls the free kick over the wall and off the right-hand post. Lillis didn’t move. Just as well, because Alli latches onto the rebound and hits it straight at him.

9.20pm GMT

72 min: Lamela turns on the jets down the inside-right channel, and is blocked by McNulty to the right of the D. I think; there’s a lot of snow on the pitch, obscuring the lines. A free kick in a dangerous position, though.

9.17pm GMT

69 min: Spurs stroke it around the back awhile, causing little trails in the snow. Rochdale will be cursing that half-time whistle.

9.15pm GMT

67 min: No hat-trick for Son, it simply wasn’t meant to be. He’s replaced by Dele Alli. “As a bit of a Spurs fan, can we employ Gareth Beale to slag them off more often please?” asks Eddie George. He should definitely monetise his talent, yes.

9.13pm GMT

The excellent Lucas Moura drops deep and slips a pass down the inside-left channel for Lamela, who hooks low into the centre. Son is free in acres and sidefoots home for his third second of the game. He couldn’t miss.

9.12pm GMT

64 min: Kitching is replaced by Thompson.

9.10pm GMT

62 min: Winks is replaced by Dembele. “VAR is not only useless, it’s contrary to the whole spirit of football, which is living in the moment,” argues David Taylor. “Ref mistakes have always happened and always evened out in the long run. And this was fine. It’s only a game, and it’s to be enjoyed. Even if VAR does eventually work the delays will ruin games. As we are now, the delays ruin games and the decisions are still wrong.” Preach on, brother.

9.08pm GMT

61 min: That’s a perfect hat-trick for Fernando Llorente: left foot, right foot, header, no other goals in between. “I’m glad that Llorente has taken my constructive criticism on board and got his finger out,” deadpans Gareth Beale.

9.07pm GMT

Son and Sissoko exchanges passes down the right. Son almost literally skates into the box, reaches the byline, and stands one up to the far post. Llorente, from close range, completes a 13-minute hat-trick!

9.06pm GMT

58 min: Steve Davies, who forced this replay, comes on for the injured Humphrys.

9.04pm GMT

56 min: Done romps down the left and reaches the byline, then nearly finds Humphrys on the edge of the Spurs box with a pullback. Not quite, but there’s a sign that Rochdale aren’t quite finished yet.

9.03pm GMT

55 min: The snow really is belting down now. The Wembley turf is as white as Tottenham’s shirt.

9.01pm GMT

Son and Moura combine sweetly down the inside-right channel, exchanging crisp passes. Moura bursts into the box and crosses low towards the near post. Llorente flicks a casual finish into the net from close range. What a half-time team-talk Mauricio Pochettino must have delivered!

8.59pm GMT

51 min: Llorente goes haring after a long ball down the left. Lillis reads this one well, and blooters it clear from the edge of his area before the Spurs striker can take control. “We’ve watched VAR ruin numerous games in the A-league this season and had it please next to no one,” reports Peter Dawson. “The human factor is that which gets blamed. It seems the human factor will always be there VAR or not, but people can forgive a ref missing something in the moment. But screwing something up with the benefit of replays and a deep breath for some common sense is going to see fans turn away. I wanted VAR to work but it’s a few years away from being ready for the top tiers of football.”

8.58pm GMT

49 min: Lamela slides through the back of Camps, and could very easily be looking at a second yellow. But the referee shows compassion. The Spurs winger wants to watch himself here; he’s in the last-chance saloon now.

8.57pm GMT

48 min: Of course, there’s a little pause before the goal is awarded, because there has to be a VAR check. Eventually the fans are permitted to celebrate, but the moment’s kinda gone.

8.55pm GMT

Moura latches onto a header by Lamela and drives down the middle. The ball’s slipped down the inside-right channel for Llorente, who daintily flicks the ball over the advancing Lillis and into the net! What a start to the half for Spurs!

8.53pm GMT

We’re off again! Spurs get the ball rolling for the second half. The ref demands the kick-off be retaken for encroachment. It’s just one of those nights, huh. “Notwithstanding the absolute farce that has been VAR the first half, Spurs have not been good enough,” writes Gareth Beale. “It’s obvious they are all fringe players as they are not playing like a team. So many misplaced passes and sloppy defending. Llorente has been an absolute donkey up front, losing the ball and falling over constantly. I think we’ll need the first-string again second half in order to win this game.”

8.40pm GMT

Half-time breathing exercise: For those annoyed by VAR, or those annoyed by those annoyed by VAR. Serenity now!

8.37pm GMT

VAR, eh? Heh.

8.36pm GMT

45 min +5: Lamela slides through the back of Camps in the midfield and earns a thoroughly deserved yellow card. Then the referee calls in the VAR, just in case he needs to flash red. He doesn’t. Now that would have put the cat among the pigeons.

8.35pm GMT

45 min +4: The corner is a non-event. Not something you can say about the rest of this weird and wonderful half.

8.34pm GMT

45 min +3: This is one of the weirdest halves of football there’s been for quite a while. For all the VAR nonsense, Rochdale have been brilliant. Now Done is sent scampering down the left wing. He’s got Humphrys and Henderson in the middle, but allows Trippier to close him down before he can get a cross in. He’ll have to settle for a corner.

8.32pm GMT

45 min +1: There will be five VAR-related extra minutes in this half. And Rochdale are inches away from taking the lead in the first of them! Vorm’s clearing kick is charged down. Humphrys takes up possession on the edge of the box and tees up Cannon to his right. Cannon sends a low rasper across Vorm and off the bottom of the left-hand post! So unlucky! That was a magnificent effort!

8.30pm GMT

45 min: Foyth has been all elbows and knees from the get-go. He clatters into Humphrys down the right and earns himself a deserved yellow card.

8.29pm GMT

43 min: The snow continues to fall. A light smattering of white on the pitch now. “Tell JR in Illinois that the new rules in soccer now state that once a goal is scored, a series of men with little understanding of the game are given the task of watching a replay and finding a reason to disallow it,” opines Justin Kavanagh. “VAR stands for Very Ambiguous Reasoning, which these numpties are obliged to employ when reaching said decision.”

8.27pm GMT

41 min: Trippier races down the right. He whips a cross into the mixer. Lamela rises, six yards out, but not quite high enough to meet the ball properly. His header wafts into Lillis’s arms.

8.26pm GMT

40 min: Moura romps down the left. For a second, it looks as though he’s going to work space for a shot, but McGahey steps in to concede a corner. The set piece is a waste of time.

8.25pm GMT

39 min: Trippier, quarterbacking from deep on the right, finds Son clear down the middle. Son can’t quite get the ball out from under his feet, and the chance to tear clear on goal is gone.

8.24pm GMT

38 min: Rose bursts through a huge gap down the left of the park, but can’t find anyone in the centre. “So JR in Illinois is not even sure he’s watching football any more, thanks to VAR,” writes Simon McMahon. “Maybe he will be happier when he finds out who’s performing the half time show tonight.”

8.22pm GMT

36 min: Lamela has a blast from the edge of the box. Lillis parries. Son tries to pick up the rebound but can’t get a shot away. It’s fair to say the atmosphere has got quite a bit warmer in the last 25 minutes or so.

8.20pm GMT

35 min: As if the weather wasn’t trippy enough!

8.20pm GMT

33 min: Never mind the snow; on the bench, Pochettino has a face like thunder. Now a free kick for Rochdale is slipped down the right wing and worked into the Spurs area. Cannon very nearly turns the ball home at the near post, but can’t quite wrap his foot around the ball. Goal kick.

8.18pm GMT

Cannon, out on the right, wedges a glorious pass down the channel. Humphrys beats the offside trap, brings the ball down delicately, shifts a little to his right and past Vorm in one movement, and slams the ball into the bottom right! WOW.

8.16pm GMT

30 min: So the penalty goal’s been disallowed for ungentlemanly conduct! This we find out after another ludicrous wait.

8.15pm GMT

28 min: Son hesitates during his run-up. He stops, then tucks the ball into the bottom right. But it’s no goal, because Son has been penalised for illegal feinting.

8.13pm GMT

27 min: It’s going to be a penalty. VAR is turning football into a farce.

8.12pm GMT

26 min: The referee stands with his finger on his ear like a piss-poor folk singer. The crowd boo.

8.11pm GMT

25 min: Trippier is dragged back by Done, an arm round the neck. The foul starts outside the area, and continues inside it. Trippier falls. He wants a penalty. A free kick’s awarded, but first there’s time for the VAR to take centre stage again. The ref asks him to check.

8.10pm GMT

Spurs score their second goal of the match, and this one’s been generously allowed to stand by the VAR. Lamela jigs in from the right. He feeds Son to the left of the area. Son drops a shoulder, cuts inside, and pearls a lovely shot into the bottom right.

8.08pm GMT

22 min: After a break in play, the referee checks with the VAR about the Lucas penalty shout. He’s not changing his mind. VAR is ruining the rhythm of this year’s FA Cup.

8.08pm GMT

21 min: Lucas Moura tries to barge his way through the centre of the Rochdale defence and into the box. McGahey sticks an arm out and puts a shoulder in. Lucas goes down under light contact. He wants a penalty. He’s not getting one.

8.05pm GMT

19 min: Winks curls into the Rochdale box from a deep position on the right. Lamela tries to extend his leg at the far post, in the hope of poking home, but can’t quite reach. This game has a nice end-to-end feel about it. It’s not going to end goalless. Speaking of which ... “What sport am I watching?” wonders JR in Illinois. “I thought a goal was scored and now I don’t understand what is happening. I think I may have to find a different sport to watch.”

8.03pm GMT

17 min: The snow is beginning to come down harder. Lamela dances his way down the left and earns a corner; it comes to nothing. Then Rochdale launch a counter, Done slipping a pass down the left for Cannon to rumble onto. He enters the area and runs the ball out of play, just before cutting back into the centre for the in-rushing Henderson.

8.01pm GMT

14 min: A long ball down the left channel sees Done stride into the Spurs box. He chests down and goes for the spectacular: a shot across Vorm and into the bottom right. He’s not far away at all! The shot squeaks wide of the right-hand post. Henderson was haring in from the other wing, and wasn’t far away from connecting. Brilliant pacy football from Rochdale, and a shot across Tottenham’s bow.

7.59pm GMT

13 min: It’s all very scrappy now. The snow continues to fall. On the touchline, Mauricio Pochettino looks far from happy, and who can blame him. At least the fume will keep him warm.

7.58pm GMT

11 min: Spurs appear shocked at the decision, while Rochdale seem slightly stunned at the largesse of the VAR system. The home side try to launch a few attacks, but that’s taken the wind out of their sails, and coherence is suddenly at a premium.

7.55pm GMT

8 min: ... the goal’s chalked off! Llorente is booked for a supposed light tug on McGahey’s arm. It’s far from a clear and obvious error, it’s far from a clear and obvious foul. The goal should have stood. VAR is nonsense.

7.53pm GMT

6 min: Son dribbles fast and strong down the right. He fires low into the middle. Lillis gets a weak hand to it. Llorente goes in with McGahey. The ball breaks to Lamela, who taps in from a couple of yards. It’s a goal. Or is it? A load of VAR faff. And ...

7.51pm GMT

5 min: Lamela shoots from distance. Deflected. Corner. Llorente heads over from the set piece.

7.50pm GMT

4 min: Rochdale are leaving a worrying amount of space in the centre of midfield. Lamela strides through acres, and very nearly releases Llorente into the area. His pass isn’t all that. Rochdale go up the other end, and once again Foyth dribbles his way into trouble. Humphrys momentarily steals the ball, but Foyth robs it back and gets out of bother with a tasty Cruyff Turn that was out of keeping with the nonsense he’d served up before.

7.48pm GMT

3 min: Rochdale deal with the first major set piece of the evening without much fuss.

7.48pm GMT

2 min: Son drives with great purpose, straight down the middle of the park. He attempts to lay off to Llorente on his left - if he’d made the pass, the striker was clean through - but Delaney gets in between the pair and boots out for a corner.

7.47pm GMT

And we’re off! Ian Henderson, Rochdale’s top scorer this season, with six goals in the cup, gets the ball rolling. The Dale launch it long. Foyth gets his feet in a bit of a muddle on the edge of his own area and very nearly gifts the ball to Henderson. But he gets away with it.

7.43pm GMT

The teams are out! Tottenham Hotspur are in their famous lilywhite, while Rochdale play in their first-choice blue. The visitors have taken a 5,146-strong support to Wembley, a fine turnout on an evening we can most definitely describe as a bit brisk. Understandably, given the snowflakes dancing around in the floodlights and a temperature of minus three - feels like minus nine - the Spurs fans aren’t out en masse this evening. Wembley is not heaving. But that isn’t stopping the Dale faithful giving it plenty. We’ll be off in a minute!

7.34pm GMT

Mauricio Pochettino speaks! “We have a very good squad, they can all play in different competitions. We want to go further in this competition, today is a great opportunity to win. The FA Cup is always difficult away from home, it is difficult to show your real quality and level: look at Manchester City! But we have a chance to play again, at Wembley, and move to the next stage.”

7.22pm GMT

Rochdale boss Keith Hill talks to BT Sport: “We came down here early and have done all our photographs. Now we have to take control of our performances. We’ve prepared really well. We’re certainly not overawed. We’re relaxed, confident and looking forward to it. We’re here to try and beat Tottenham, if we lose I’ll be bitterly disappointed. Our FA Cup form has been amazing.”

7.07pm GMT

Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Trippier, Foyth, Dier, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Lucas Moura, Lamela, Son, Llorente.
Subs: Sanchez, Kane, Dembele, Alli, Gazzaniga, Eriksen, Walker-Peters.

Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McGahey, McNulty, Delaney, Done, Cannon, Kitching, Camps, Humphrys, Henderson.
Subs: Ntlhe, Rathbone, Thompson, Inman, Davies, Moore, Adshead.

7.00pm GMT

Only Eric Dier and Erik Lamela survive from the Tottenham XI named at Crystal Palace last Sunday. It’s still a pretty strong team, though, with Lamela joined in the attack by Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente. Harry Kane and Dele Alli are on the bench.

Rochdale, bottom of League One, name exactly the same team that forced a replay a couple of weekends ago. That means two changes from the team that lost at Wigan last weekend: Scott Wiseman and Ollie Rathbone make way for Joe Rafferty and Stephen Humphrys.

10.10am GMT

As Chas, Dave and the drummer from Chas and Dave once sang: it’s lucky for Spurs when the year ends in one. ♬♭ They first won the cup when the century begun. ♯ ♪ They lifted it in 1901, 1921, 1961, 1981 and 1991. Throw in league titles in 1951 and 1961, plus a League Cup in 1971, and there’s a bona-fide number-44 smash hit right there!

Times change, though, and Spurs haven’t won the cup since the days of Terry Venables, Gazza and Paul Stewart. In the new millennium, it’s luckier for Spurs when the year ends in eight. They won the League Cup back in 2008 and ... well, that’s it, though to be fair our hands are tied with sample size. Bill Nicholson took over in 1958, if you fancy widening it out a bit.

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Spurs hit six as VAR dominates

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 22:40
Fernando Llorente scored a hat-trick as Tottenham cruised to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 6-1 win over Rochdale in a replay littered with VAR controversy at Wembley.

Poch unfazed by stadium concerns

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 13:40
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has no concerns about potentially playing their opening games away from home next season.

Tottenham-Rochdale tie to go ahead

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 11:20
Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round replay between Tottenham and Rochdale at Wembley will definitely go ahead.

Snow hits sport in UK

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 10:54

Premier League North v South XI

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 07:00
Romelu Lukaku posed an interesting question on Twitter on Monday night, and one that sparked debate. Manchester United striker suggested a Premier League version of the NBA all-star game, pitching north against south with the players for each XI voted for by the fans.

WATCH: The Debate - North v South

Sky Sports - ons, 28/02/2018 - 00:10
Speaking on The Debate, Ian Wright and Andy Townsend choose their north v south XIs, and some interesting choices for managers.

Poch: Alderweireld doubtful for Juve

Sky Sports - tir, 27/02/2018 - 23:50
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has cast doubt over Toby Alderweireld's chances of facing Juventus in the Champions League next week.

Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld to miss Champions League tie with Juventus

Guardian - tir, 27/02/2018 - 23:30

• Belgian defender not fit for second leg after hamstring injury
• Mauricio Pochettino will not rush Alderweireld back into side

Mauricio Pochettino has made it plain Toby Alderweireld will not be fit for Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League match against Juventus next Wednesday.

The central defender, who has a hamstring injury sustained in training last Thursday, is still recovering. “He is still not participating with the group,” Pochettino said when asked about Alderweireld’s prospects for the Wembley leg of the last-16 tie, which is finely poised at 2-2. “The answer is clear.”

Related: Samir Nasri given six-month ban for doping violation over drip treatment

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Sky announces April PL live matches

Sky Sports - tir, 27/02/2018 - 17:00
The Manchester and Merseyside derbies are among the fixtures to be shown live on Sky Sports in April.

Spurs may start away next season

Sky Sports - tir, 27/02/2018 - 16:20
Tottenham are likely to ask to play their first few games of next season away from home while work is finished on their new stadium.

Pochettino unsure on winter break

Sky Sports - tir, 27/02/2018 - 13:27
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is unsure if a winter break will work in England and insists the proposals should not look to change the traditional festive fixtures of Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

PL clubs unite for LGBT History Month

Sky Sports - tir, 27/02/2018 - 01:00
Premier League clubs have united with Kick It Out to promote inclusion in LGBT History Month.

Raul open to Kane at Real Madrid

Sky Sports - man, 26/02/2018 - 22:30
Real Madrid legend Raul has described Harry Kane as one of the world's best strikers and admitted he would like to see him at the Bernabeu.

Wembley 'no day out' for Rochdale

Sky Sports - man, 26/02/2018 - 19:40
Rochdale boss Keith Hill has reminded his players their FA Cup fifth-round replay with Tottenham at Wembley is not a sightseeing trip.

Tottenham v Rochdale preview

Sky Sports - man, 26/02/2018 - 18:00
Rochdale will enjoy one of the biggest nights in their history when they travel to Wembley Stadium to play Tottenham in an FA Cup fifth-round replay (7.45pm kick-off).
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