Furious Benitez demands VAR after last-gasp Wolves defeat

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez gestures during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Newcastle December 9, 2018. — Action Images pic via Reuters
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez gestures during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Newcastle December 9, 2018. — Action Images pic via Reuters

NEWCASTLE, Dec 10 — Rafael Benitez called yesterday for the immediate introduction of video assistant referees after his 10-man Newcastle side slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Wolves following Matt Doherty’s stoppage-time winner.

Furious Benitez made the plea after DeAndre Yedlin was sent off for hauling back Diogo Jota after being caught in possession 56 minutes into the defeat, which left the Magpies three points from the relegation zone.

Benitez was also convinced that Willy Boly should have been given a red card and Newcastle a penalty after the Frenchman caught Ayoze Perez with a flying elbow.

“It was an elbow in the face, he was bleeding — it was so obvious,” said Benitez.

“But I have seen the replay. You can see the replay and see the face of the player and after, what happened. Anyone can see that, so we need VAR (video assistant referees).”

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, whose side are up to 10th after their second straight win, felt the sending off was justified and the elbow by Boly accidental.

“It’s an elbow, it’s a clear elbow on Ayoze,” he said. “But from my point of view, not being over-protective, he (Boly) jumps for the ball and he doesn’t see him, so it’s not intentional.”

VAR is set to be introduced to the Premier League from next season after clubs “agreed in principle” to the move last month, following an update on the non-live VAR trials already taking place.

The system is already being used in leagues around Europe, including Italy’s Serie A and French Ligue 1, and was used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

VAR call

Newcastle thought they had claimed a hard-earned point yesterday despite Yedlin’s sending off.

Martin Dubravka was left helpless when Helder Costa’s cross sailed over Jamaal Lascelles and Jota controlled on his chest before firing home from point-blank range.

Wolves defender Ryan Bennett was penalised for a foul on Perez 25 metres out just six minutes later and after Salomon Rondon’s free-kick had hit the underside of the crossbar and the rebound was cleared, the Venezuelan striker crossed for Perez to plant a fine header past Rui Patricio.

Benitez was forced to reshuffle after Yedlin was dismissed.

Sensing an opportunity to snatch the three points, Nuno responded immediately, sending on Morgan Gibbs-White and Raul Jimenez for Romain Saiss and Adama Traore but the visitors largely struggled to make their numerical advantage count.

The frame of the goal came to Newcastle’s rescue with 14 minutes remaining when Gibbs-White and Costa set up Jimenez to race away on the left, only to see his shot come back off the underside of the crossbar but with seconds remaining, Doherty struck.

Dubravka made a superb save to deny Jota from ending a mazy run with what would have been a sensational winner but had to look on helplessly as Doherty headed the rebound into the empty net. — AFP

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