Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has hit out at referee Anthony Taylor and VAR, saying Sadio Mane should have been sent off for a “clear red.”
Six seconds into the game between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, Mane and Azpilicueta contested a high ball.
Mane led with his arm and caught the Spanish defender in the face, and replays made for poor viewing.
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Taylor brandished a yellow card, much to the shock of Azpilicueta and the Chelsea bench.
The decision sparked widespread debate, with many feeling it was worthy of a straight red card.
To rub salt into Chelsea’s wounds, Mane fired Liverpool into the lead. The Reds doubled their advantage through Mo Salah, as Chelsea were forced to fight back to secure a 2-2 draw.
Azpilicueta spoke to Sky Sports following the game and was in no doubt about the decision.
“It is a clear red,” Azpilicueta said.
I don’t care if it is five seconds into the game, the first action. He does not want to challenge, he does not see the ball, he just wants to hit with the elbow.
“I don't understand the decision. It is a clear red card. We are getting these decisions against us, and it changes the way of the game.
“Sometimes we are seeing joke penalty decisions, and sometimes we see dangerous actions and no action is taken.”
Azpilicueta continued by pleading for consistency from those in charge of the game.
“Sometimes the referees become a bit softer in terms of penalties and red cards, and then it can be the opposite,” he said. “I don’t know what happens because we do not see consistency.
“It is disappointing. This kind of decision is clear.
"I have seen the replay, but I did not need it because in life you know it was a clear red.”
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