Manchester City were denied three points at home to Spurs after a last-minute Gabriel Jesus goal was ruled out by VAR.
Raheem Sterling had given City the lead, only for Erik Lamela to level the scored. Sergio Aguero then put City back in front, only for Lucas Moura to level in the second half after just coming on as a sub. Jesus thought he’d won the game for City, but after a lengthy delay, another last minute, match-winning goal against Spurs was overturned.
It was a bitter end to the match, that saw City dominate their opponents, but failing to take their chances in an entertaining match. Kevin de Bruyne, out for much of last season, looked to be getting back to his best as he set up both City goals and had chances himself as the blues looked to build on last weekend’s thumping 5-0 victory at West Ham.
And it looked like fifteen straight Premier League wins, a run that started in February and took City to the title, would become sixteen when Sterling headed the blues in front on 23 minutes. De Bruyne was the provider, swinging in a wicked cross to the far post, that was met by the head of Sterling for his fourth goal of the season.
But the lead only lasted three minutes. Lamela picked up a pass midway in the City and, with the defenders backing off, the Spurs man fired left footed into the bottom corner to equalise for the visitors.
The blues continued to press and got their reward ten minutes before half time and again it was de Bruyne the provider. The assist king took a pass form Bernardo Silva on the left wing and crossed low for Aguero to sweep home his second goal of the season and City in 2-1 up at half time. De Bruyne had a chance to make it 3-1 himself, making space but going for power, he hit the shot over the bar.
Spurs were not of the match and levelled again on 56 minutes. Moura had just come on as a substitute and made an immediate impact, connecting with Lamela’s corner to head the ball beyond Ederson.
The blues toiled without success and a flashpoint in the 65th minute saw what looked like a clash of words between Aguero and manager Pep Guardiola. The Argentine was replaced by Jesus and seemed to have a bit of a heated debate with Guardiola, which was later dismissed by the manager as a misunderstanding.
But the biggest talking point was yet to come and once again, it involved VAR. The blues won a corner in the last minute which was swung in by de Bruyne again, and after an attempted header by Aymeric Laporte, the ball fell to Jesus, who took a touch and calmly fire home. The Spurs players looked dejected and the stadium erupted, before a lengthy delay resulted in the goal being disallowed, with Laporte adjudged to have handled, albeit accidentally, in the build up to the goal.
Var Frustrates City Again
For the second week running, VAR has been the subject of Manchester City’s frustration. Last week, Raheem Sterling’s shoulder was judged to be offside while the rest of his body was clearly onside, but VAR intervened and the goal was disallowed.
And again against Spurs, it denied the blues an injury time winner as Aymeric Laporte was judged to have handled in the build up to Jesus’ goal. It was an unintentional brush against the arm which was the crime, however what VAR didn’t seem to spot was the fact that Laporte’s arm was being dragged by the Spurs defender. Should that not have been a penalty as it was clear and obvious Laporte was being held back?
And talking of penalties, what happened to the VAR review when the referee made a clear and obvious error in not awarding City a spot-kick when Rodri was almost strangled by the defender? This was picked up straight away and Sterling asked whether that should have been a penalty, only for the referee to wave away the claims.
VAR is supposed to enhance the game and make sure that errors which have blighted the sport in the past are eradicated for the future. It’s clear and obvious right now that VAR is doing the opposite.
We’re only two games in and no conclusions can be drawn at this stage, but if this sets the tone for rest of the season, it’s going to be a very long and frustrating nine months.