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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Martin Keown blasts VAR for awarding Spurs crucial penalty in race for top four

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Tottenham Hotspur is in a direct race with bitter rivals Arsenal for the last remaining spot in next season’s Champions League.

Prior to this weekend’s action, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners carried a slender one-point lead.

However, with Antonio Conte’s Lilywhites in action on Sunday against Burnley and the Gunners not set to play until Monday evening, last weekend’s tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was always going to be hugely significant.

Despite being the better of the two teams, Tottenham Hotspur struggled to break down the notoriously resolute Clarets and consequently, looked to be heading into the game’s halftime break all square at nil-nil.

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However, just moments before the whistle, Conte’s men were awarded a penalty by referee Kevin Friend, who deemed attacker Ashley Barnes to have handled the ball inside his own box.

Star striker Harry Kane stepped up and dispatched the opportunity in his usual emphatic fashion with Tottenham Hotspur going on to win the crucial tie one-nil.

Speaking about what turned out to be a hugely costly decision for Burnley, who are scrapping for their lives at the foot of the table, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown felt VAR made a major error.

“Nobody’s appealed,” the ex-Gunner told TalkSPORT.

“It really is a really unusual penalty. And then VAR jumps in – and I don’t think that’s what VAR is there for.

“I don’t think that’s the protocol of VAR. It has to be clear and obvious. And that certainly wasn’t. Now, obviously Spurs then profit from that and then that has implications going forward.”

Co-host Jim White then suggested that the rules of the game were correctly followed, to which Keown replied: “But that’s not right, Jim. If it’s the wrong outcome, then that’s not fairness. VAR is there to make it fair. So VAR is not working in this situation.”

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