Nine-man Chelsea beat Norwich on penalties after VAR controversy

Chelsea beat Norwich on penalties in the FA Cup third-round replay as English football had its first video refereeing controversy.

Blues keeper Willy Caballero saved the Canaries’ first penalty from Nelson Oliveira – the only missed kick of the shootout.

Michy Batshuayi had given Chelsea the lead in the 55th minute when he tapped home Kenedy’s cross from close range.

But Jamal Lewis headed home Timm Klose’s cross in injury time to force an extra 30 minutes.

The big moment of controversy came when Willian went down after being caught by Klose in the area, but the Chelsea player was booked for diving.

Video official Mike Jones did not think there was a clear and obvious error with referee Graham Scott’s decision – so they did not review the situation at length.

All of BBC Match of the Day’s pundits thought it should have been a penalty, with Alan Shearer calling it a “shambles”.

The Blues ended with nine men as Pedro and Alvaro Morata were both dismissed in extra time for two bookings each, with both players shown their first yellows for diving. Morata’s second yellow came for dissent following his reaction to the first booking.

Antonio Conte’s Blues host Newcastle United in the fourth round on Sunday, 28 January.

VAR takes the limelight – again

Leicester’s win over Fleetwood on Tuesday was the third time VAR was in effect in English club football, and the first time it was used to overturn a decision – correctly judging Kelechi Iheanacho to be onside for his second goal.

If that showed how VAR can go smoothly – then Chelsea’s game with Norwich showed the other side.

There were no controversial moments in the 90 minutes, with Pedro correctly booked for diving and Scott not needing to liaise with Jones in a London office.

But in extra time, Willian went down after being caught by Klose’s sliding tackle, although the Brazilian could possibly have stayed on his feet.

Scott immediately brought out a yellow card for Willian and gave a free-kick to Norwich. Jones decided Scott had not made a mistake – which is his basic remit – so there was no real review.

Morata then appealed for another penalty – while indicating a television screen with his arms – when Klose had his arms around him. It would have been a weak award and the referee was not interested.

Later on, the Spain striker went down easily again after Christoph Zimmermann held onto him. It could have been given, although again it would have been a controversial penalty to award. Scott booked Morata – and then showed him an immediate second yellow for his angry reaction.

The game then went to penalties, which were much less controversial, and Eden Hazard, a late substitute, stroked home the winning kick.

Norwich players ‘in tears’ after losing action-packed game

While the headlines will be about VAR, there were so many talking points in an incident-filled game, which Canaries boss Daniel Farke said left some of his players in tears.

The first half was not great, although both sides hit the bar, Danny Drinkwater for the Blues and Oliveira for the Canaries.

Chelsea looked set to reach round four when Batshuayi ended an 11-game scoring drought by converting Kenedy’s cross.

But the Canaries, who are 13th in the Championship, kept pressing for an equaliser – and Jacob Murphy’s shot from the edge of the area crashed off the post.

Just when they thought their luck was out, their bravery paid off with the last action of the 90 minutes.

With nothing to lose, most of their players pushed forward and left-back Lewis scored the first goal of his career when he headed in a cross from centre-back Klose.

Extra time was all about the penalty appeals and red cards, although Morata could have ended it earlier when he headed straight at goalkeeper Angus Gunn from eight yards.


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