Former referee’s chief Keith Hackett says Harry Kane was fortunate to escape punishment for what appeared to be a forceful off-the-ball barge on Arsenal defender Gabriel during the north London derby.
Goals from Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette saw the Gunners come from behind to beat their local rivals 2-1 at the Emirates after Erik Lamela had earlier given Spurs the lead.
Kane, who was left frustrated for much of the game, was involved in a coming together with the Brazilian defender in the 74th minute, charging at his opponent after the ball had been cleared.
The England captain slammed his arm into the side of the Arsenal man’s head, sending him crashing to the turf.
Referee Michael Oliver took no action, and VAR didn’t intervene.
Furious Arsenal fans took to social media to highlight the incident, claiming that Kane should have been sent off for dangerous play.
Hackett, a former Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) general manager , was asked on twitter why the decision wasn’t referred and admitted his surprise action wasn’t taken.
“Amazed given that this should have received a red card.” he responded.
However, after viewing the incident again, Hackett changed his view but still thinks the Tottenham man should have been reprimanded.
“I think that many referees will judge this as a reckless challenge (yellow card) not red,” he added.
“On first view I thought red. Then I looked again and changed my view to yellow. There is an element of doubt and I don’t think the action endangered the safety of an opponent.”
Despite Kane escaping punishment, Spurs did find themselves down to ten men on 76 minutes when goalscorer Lamela was dismissed for two bookable offences.
There was also controversy involving Arsenal’s winning goal ten minutes earlier when Davinson Sanchez was adjudged to have fouled Lacazette in the area when his challenge caught the Frenchman after a failed shot.
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While Jose Mourinho and a number of Spurs fans disagreed with the decision to award the Gunners a penalty, Hackett chose to back Oliver’s decision.
“Under law 12 this challenge was deemed to be ‘careless’ the player not acting with precaution.,” he wrote.
“Under VAR protocol Paul Tierney did not intervene because it was not a clear and obvious error. Oliver was in a good position.”