Cesar Azpilicueta insists Sadio Mane’s elbow in opening seconds was ‘clear red card’ as he hits out at VAR

    Just ten seconds into the clash between Chelsea and Liverpool, which finished 2-2, Mane caught Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow as they challenged for a long ball straight from kick-off.

    Referee Anthony Taylor showed Mane the yellow card, and VAR reviewed the incident to be reckless rather than violent conduct.

    Azpilicueta slammed the decision, believing that the face it happened so early in the match might have influenced the referee and VAR.

    “It’s a clear red, I don’t mind if it’s five seconds into the game and the first actions, it’s a clear red,” Azpilicueta said.

    “He doesn’t see the ball, he just wants to hit with the elbow. Honestly I don’t understand it.

    “The other day we had two penalties where VAR didn’t come, today the first action is a clear red card. We are getting these decisions against us that of course could change the way of the game.

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

    It comes after a controversial weekend of VAR decisions, with inconsistent decisions in the match between Arsenal and Man City also receiving criticism.

    The Chelsea captain called for more clarity from referees and how matches are officiated.

    “We are promoting 50/50 challenges in the Premier League, but sometimes we have seen joke penalties,” Azpilicueta said.

    “And sometimes, we see real dangerous actions and we don’t take action.

    “We saw a few games where referees become a bit softer. Then it becomes the opposite – I don’t know what happens. We don’t have consistency even in the same game or through the season.”

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