Former Premier League official Dermot Gallagher has said that the referee was right to only hand Liverpool winger Sadio Mane a yellow card for his part in a challenge with Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Within six seconds of kickoff at Stamford Bridge, Mane and Azpilicueta jumped for a high ball on the touchline with the Liverpool player’s forearm catching the Blues right wing-back.
The Senegalese was cautioned for the challenge before scoring the goal’s opening goal of the game less than 10 minutes later, a set of events which frustrated Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel.
The general consensus has been that Mane was fortunate to avoid being sent off, but Gallagher feels that the referee and VAR reached the correct decision.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Gallagher said: “I think it’s a yellow card. It’s not a wise challenge, but he leads with his forearm. He is using that to get up as leverage to get off the ground. I don’t think he uses that as a weapon, and he certainly doesn’t hit him with the elbow. He does catch him with the forearm.
“The ball isn’t near him but the ball is in air for both players to challenge and if you look at Mane, he is always looking in the air. He doesn’t size up Azpilicueta and he doesn’t hit him with full force. All in all, I’d say reckless challenge, but not dangerous.”
The game in West London ended in a 2-2 draw, Chelsea coming from two goals behind to earn a deserved share of the spoils.