Antonio Conte launched a furious attack on the “honesty” of refereeing and the VAR system after a late decision overruled a winner in Tottenham’s 1-1 Champions League draw with Sporting.
Deep in injury time, Harry Kane knocked in Emerson Royal’s assist to set off wild celebrations that were curtailed when the video assistant intervened. Kane was ruled offside, and in the melee that followed Conte was dismissed for his protestations to the Dutch referee, Danny Makkelie, and his assistants.
Tottenham must negotiate Marseille next Tuesday to qualify for the knockout rounds when Kane’s goal would have guaranteed progress. “All the people came on to the pitch and the referee decided to send me off,” an indignant Conte said.
“Only for this. I think there are moments you can be intelligent to understand you have disallowed a regular goal because the goal is regular because the ball is in front of Kane and then ... VAR.”
The manager chose to make a wider point about VAR and its effect on Tottenham’s season. “You know I don’t comment on ref’s decision but the VAR this season, we are not so lucky,” he said. “Until now we are only the team that has repeated a penalty. And every penalty I go to see if the keeper moves on the line and then I see it a lot of the time.
“I want to see a repeat of penalties in the Premier League ... I think they create a big damage. I would like to see if this type of decision made with a top team in an important game.
“I would like to see if the VAR is so brave enough to make an unfair decision. I’m really upset because sometimes you can ask this situation sometimes, I think it’s not good. I don’t see honesty in this type of situation, when I don’t see this I become really upset.”
Sporting had led until the 80th minute through Marcus Edwards’s goal, only for Rodrigo Bentancur to equalise with a header. “Sporting deserved to stay 1-0 up,” Conte said. “Then the end of the game we deserve to get three points but now [after] the decision we have to wait to the last game.”
Conte appeared to ask the Spurs hierarchy for aid in pursuing his complaint. “I hope the club understands this and then in the right situation they also speak with the people they have to speak with because otherwise it is only the manager to speak. I think the club has to be strong because I repeat this situation creates big, big damage. Now we don’t know what happen next week. If we go out, then I want to see.”