The Senegalese forward escaped a potential red card decision in Chelsea and Liverpool’s clash at the weekend.
Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink agrees with Blues manager Thomas Tuchel and captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s verdict on Sadio Mane.
The three men insist Mane escaped a ‘clear red card’ decision just 14 seconds into Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with title rivals Liverpool in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
They were referring to an incident where Mane’s elbow caught Azpilicueta in the face as he leaped to challenge for a ball in the air.
Referee Anthony Taylor cautioned the Reds forward with a yellow card. VAR official Darren England reviewed the incident, but he didn’t summon Taylor to watch the video replays on a pitchside monitor – much to the disbelief of the home side.
Yes, that should be a red card for Sadio Mane for a deliberate elbow to the face of Cesar Azpilicueta pic.twitter.com/zMozjfonaH
— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) January 2, 2022
What did Azpilicueta and Tuchel think?
Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, the defender said: “A clear red. I don’t mind if it is five seconds into the game, it is a red. I don’t understand, we have had these kinds of decisions the other day. It is a clear red card. We are getting these decisions against us and it can change the way of the game.
“I watched the replay, but I didn’t need this because live I knew it was a red.”
Blues boss Tuchel added: “I hate to say it because I love Mane and he is a nice guy and top player, but it is a red card. The elbow is in the face — it doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes.”
Hasselbaink agrees with the Chelsea duo
The Dutchman agreed that Mane’s challenge should’ve resulted in a straight red card.
“I think it’s reckless. I think it’s a red card, for me,” said Hasselbaink on Sky Sports.
“He knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s an elbow. If you give a yellow card, it has to be a red card.”
Taylor’s decision came back to haunt Chelsea just eight minutes later when Mane scored the opening goal of the match. Mohamed Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead before the half-hour mark.
However, in the space of four minutes, Chelsea launched a quick-fire comeback before the break to draw level through Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic.
The match ended in a 2-2 draw, leaving Chelsea trailing Premier League leaders Manchester City by 10 points in second place. Liverpool are a further point and spot behind Tuchel’s men in third.