Azpilicueta on Mane’s foul: That’s a red card


Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said Sadio Mane should have been sent off in the first minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge after VAR failed to review an apparent elbow by Liverpool forward after just 14 seconds of the game.

Mane, who scored Liverpool’s opening goal on nine minutes, was given a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor following the foul on Azpilicueta. But although replays suggested that Mane’s challenge could be construed as violent conduct, VAR official Darren England did not request that Taylor should review the incident on a pitchside monitor.

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Azpilicueta was clear in his insistence, however, that Mane should have been sent off.

“A clear red,” Azpilicueta said. “I don’t mind if it is five seconds into the game it is a red. “I don’t understand, we have had these kind of decisions the other day. It is a clear red card. We are getting these decisions against us and it can change the way of the game.

“I watched the replay but I didn’t need this because live I knew it was a red.”

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel echoed Azpilicueta’s comments by saying that Mane should have been shown a red card, having seen referee Taylor send off Reece James for handball during the corresponding fixture between the two teams at Anfield earlier this season.

“If you remember the first game with the same referee and how quick it was to give a red card to us, I am not a friend of early red cards,” Tuchel said. “I hate to say it because I love Mane and he is a nice guy and top player, but it is a red card.

“The elbow is in the face — it doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes.”

Mane will now leave Liverpool to report for Africa Cup of Nations duty in Cameroon with Senegal, but he was defended by teammate and captain Jordan Henderson.

“I was disappointed with the yellow card to be honest,” Henderson said. “Sadio is always going to try and win it. His eyes are always on the ball, I don’t think there was intent there.”

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