English Premiership

Watford angered by 'subjective' VAR as Alli saves Spurs

2019-10-19 22:03
Dele Alli
Dele Alli (Getty Images)

London - Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores complained that VAR is not "objective" after Dele Alli's controversial late equaliser for Tottenham was allowed to stand in a 1-1 draw with the Hornets on Saturday.

Sanchez Flores seemed set for his first win since returning to Watford last month as the visitors led through Abdoulaye Doucoure's early goal until four minutes from time.

But a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia handed Alli an equaliser to at least salvage a point for last season's Champions League finalists.

The goal was reviewed for a potential handball by Alli, but Watford were furious it was not ruled out for an apparent push by Harry Kane on Christian Kabasele.

"I have no idea," said Sanchez Flores when asked if VAR had reviewed Kane's push.

"I was thinking VAR is objective, but now I am thinking it is something very subjective."

Watford were also angered by the decision to award the visitors a penalty just before half-time when Gerard Deulofeu was taken down inside the box by Jan Vertonghen.

The late drama saved Spurs from a third straight defeat after humiliating heavy losses to Bayern Munich and Brighton before the international window.

Tottenham have now won just three of their first 12 games in all competitions this season, but Mauricio Pochettino took heart from the fight they showed the battle back after the break.

"The first half was poor, but second half I feel very proud. We fight, we took risks and we were rewarded with the goal," said Pochettino.

Doubts continue to grow over the Argentine's ability to turn the tide in his sixth season in charge.

However, Pochettino believes his side have taken the first step in restoring their confidence after the 7-2 mauling by Bayern earlier this month.

"After Bayern Munich it is normal we were with our confidence on the floor," added Pochettino.

"It was so important the way we achieved the point in the end. We were fighting and showed character. In this type of situation the most important thing is the character you need to show.

"For me it is the first step to build our confidence again."

Just like at Brighton a fortnight ago, Tottenham were behind within the first few minutes.

Daryl Janmaat got in behind Danny Rose and crossed for Doucoure to apply the finish.

After his exertions in a World Cup qualifier in North Korea for South Korea in midweek, Pochettino left Son Heung-min and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele on the bench.

But Son's spark was badly missed from an impotent Spurs before the break.

Indeed the hosts were fortunate to be just 1-0 down at half-time as Vertonghen somehow escaped conceding a penalty for bringing down Deulofeu despite a VAR review.

Son was introduced for Davinson Sanchez at the break as Pochettino switched formation and he instantly offered more pace and directness to the Spurs' attack.

His powerful drive from a narrow angle was tipped onto the bar by Foster on 50 minutes.

But in Tottenham's search for an equaliser they were leaving huge gaps for the visitors to exploit on the counter-attack and Sanchez Flores's men lived to regret not at least doubling their advantage with a host of good chances.

At the other end, just as Tottenham seemed to be running out of ideas, Watford gifted them an equaliser when Foster collided with his own defender in Femenia and spilled the ball into the path of Alli, who swept the ball into an empty net for his first goal since January.

During an anxious wait as the goal was reviewed, confusion reigned as the big screen inside the ground even said it had been ruled out before the referee finally awarded the goal.


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