Pochettino warns VAR could ‘kill emotion’ in football after Spurs’ FA Cup win
01 March, 2018 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
FA Cup Fifth Round Replay
SPURS 6 (Son 23, 64, Llorente 46, 52, 58, Walker-Peters, 90)
ROCHDALE 1 (Humphrys 30)
SPURS slid gracefully into the quarter-finals of this year’s FA Cup with a comprehensive victory against Rochdale in icy conditions.
The weather, combined with some over-long referrals to the video assistant referee, made the fist half one of the more bizarre matches seen at Wembley. But, while the League Two visitors went into the break with the scores standing at one apiece, a second-half blizzard, including a Fernando Llorente hat-trick, blew their hopes away.
Speaking after the 6-1 win, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said he feels VAR threatens to rob football of what makes the game special.
He said: “There is a lot of work needed with VAR. There is the danger it will change the game we love. It may kill the emotion for those who pay to watch it – and people may decide they should stay at home if they cannot shout the moment their team scores, and they have to wait two minutes to know if it was a goal.”
Spurs thought they had taken the lead after six minutes when Erik Lamela tapped home – but, after a horribly long wait, the referee decided, after looking at the video, that the goal was not to stand due to a foul in the build-up, prompting raucous celebrations from the away fans.
After some tepid play as neither side found a rhythm in a snow-storm, Spurs took the lead through Heung-Min Son on 22. Lamela played in his team-mate on the left, Son cut across goal and zipped his effort into the far corner.
Then VAR became the main talking point once more. Spurs won a free-kick on the edge of the box as Keiran Trippier was pulled down but, after a long delay, the referee gave a penalty instead. Son promptly converted it – but then saw his goal chalked off for delaying his run and a yellow card produced instead.
Then, from being in a strong position to put the tie to bed, Spurs found themselves in a hole.
Rochdale, who had been direct with their attacks and had already struck a post, caught Spurs napping on 30 and grabbed an equaliser through Stephen Humphrys. It was a lovely moment for the 20-year-old Fulham loanee.
His celebrations on the Wembley touchline brought a moment of much-needed cheer to a bitterly cold night.
Spurs came out of the blocks quickly for the second half, with Fernando Llorente slipping in behind the Dale defence and finishing beautifully to give the home side the lead on 46 – and on 53
Llorente made it 3-1. A tricky run by Lucas Moura, after an intricate passing move, saw the Spaniard strike again from close range. It was as if a dam had burst. Llorente, having struggled to make any impression this season, was suddenly the hero – and more was to come. On 58, he was in the right place to head home a Son cross. Son made it five on 64 and the sixth came via substitute Kyle
Walker-Peters, who got himself a keepsake to treasure when he scored in stoppage time.
It was a shivery victory in terrible conditions, and sends Spurs in to a Cup quarter-final away at Swansea in two weeks’ time.
SPURS: Vorm, Trippier, Rose, Son (Alli, 66) Lamela, Dier, Sissoko, Llorente, Foyth, Moura (Walker-Peters, 81) Winks (Dembele, 61)
Subs: Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Kane, Eriksen.
ROCHDALE: Lillis, Rafferty, McHulty, McGahey, Humphrys, Camps, Done, Delaney, Cannon (Adshead, 75) Kitching (Thompson, 63) Henderson.
Subs: Moore, Ntlhe, Rathbone, Inman, Davies.