Harry Kane was offside. That’s the bottom line. In any other league in the world he would’ve been given offside and no-one would’ve tried to justify the decision that Jon Moss made.
Ultimately justice was done when Kane had his pen saved, but he shouldn’t have been taking it. He was offside. He was offside from the moment Dele Alli tried to slip that ball through to him.
Let me also say this - I thought Jon Moss and his assistant Eddie Smart got everything else right. They both had a very good day - except for standing in front of the tv cameras debating the decision. I’ll get back to that.
The PGMOL issued a statement saying Dejan Lovren played Kane onside when he slashed at the ball, got a touch, but allowed it to run onto the centre-forwaard. Wrong. If it is indeed the case that by making a move to the ball to stop it finding its target then Wijnaldum was the player that first. We at beINSPORTS pointed that out on Sunday. Sadly, no-one back home did and therefore the PGMOL issued their incorrect statement.
What everyone also missed was that Lovren makes an attempt to play the ball because he can see Kane - therefore the forward had to be impacting on Lovren, therefore he’s OFFSIDE.
Why do the PGMOL always try to justify decisions that are incorrect? Is it because it affects their statistics about getting things right come the end of the season?
By the way, would VAR have helped get the decision correct? Having pointed out what I have and what was missed - no, it wouldn’t.
Would VAR have been useful in deciding whether Kane had dived? Work it out for yourself, but my view is - no - it wouldn’t. We’ve all looked at the incident 100 times and there’s no consensus. You see, ‘matters of fact’ very often dilute quickly into ‘matters of opinion’. For what it’s worth I thought it was a pen. Yes, Kane ‘made it’ a pen, but there was contact and he had every right to go over. There was certainly more contact than there was on Deulofeu Monday night, yet no-one made a fuss about that one. The only difference between the two is that there was NO contact on Deulofeu! Why isn’t he on a ‘deception’ charge?
Was it a pen when Van Dijk kicked Lamella? For me, yes. Would VAR have decided differently. How could it? Again, we’d be talking about a further ‘opinion’. What VAR would certainly have done was kill one of the best finishes to a game that I’ve ever witnessed. We’d all have been sitting around waiting for decisions, getting bored and cold. So would the players.
One other thing. If the PGMOL want us to believe that their interpretation of events leading up to the first pen are correct - then what about the second?
I’ll explain. Before van Dijk kicks Lamela he tried to head the ball away. It brushes his face, so presumably when it gets to Lamela that action has played the Spurs forward onside? See what a nonsense it all is?
I repeat. I thought Moss and his assistant got it mostly right and Smart particularly was brave to call the second pen so late in the game. He could easily have left it and no-one would’ve complained.
But it was a mistake to hold their ‘conference’ so close to the tv cameras. Yes, it was fascinating to listen in, but they both should’ve been smarter. They turned players away - they should’ve sent the cameraman away as well. In not doing so we heard Moss ask of if television had seen anything. Cue uproar! Come on. Let’s get real. TV has often been involved in these decisions - ever since Zinadine Zidane was sent off in the 2006 World Cup Final. No-one saw him headbutt Marco Materazzi, but tv did and when the pictures were seen by the 4th official - off he went.
Moss wasn’t ‘mis-guided’ in asking. He was ‘mis-guided’ in being overheard asking.
And before we go, a quick word about Mike Dean’s performance at Watford. Poor old Mike had another very bad day in the office. There’s no way Bakayoko should’ve been sent off by a ref whose sent more players off in his career than anyone else - 89 now. The second highest total is 64. Don’t tell me Mike seems to get more ‘rough house’ games than anybody else.
Have a look again at the first booking. Dean allows play to go on - because he didn’t see the ‘foul’. Only when he heard the scream that always accompanies a foul these days did he react. How do I know? Because he didn’t wave play on. He just followed the ball. If he’d seen something and was going to allow an advantage he’d have held his arms out to signal that advantage. He didn’t. He didn’t see it. He ‘heard’ it.
As for VAR. I know it’s coming. It’s inevitable, but I remain of the opinion that we don’t need it. I noticed my good friend Jan Fjortoft confirm in a newspaper article at the weekend, what I’d been hearing - that the Germans don’t want it. They’re fed up with it.
They’re using it in Italy, where opinion is firmly divided. I’m hearing that the Premier League are having doubts about using it next season. Let’s hope so. It will ruin the drama and excitement of games like we saw at Anfield.