Erling Haaland: Why Man City Striker Was Awarded Penalty Despite Fouling Marc Cucurella First

Erling Haaland: Why Man City Striker Was Awarded Penalty Despite Fouling Marc Cucurella First

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
  • Erling Haaland's penalty vs Chelsea was the standout VAR decision in the Stamford Bridge clash
  • The Manchester City striker was involved in a tangle with Marc Cucurella inside the Chelsea box
  • Similar offences like Cucurella's have gone unpunished by the VAR in recent weeks

Chelsea and Manchester City produced an all-time Premier League classic when they met at Stamford Bridge on November 12.

Both defences took a day off, each conceding four times as they settled for a point apiece in West London. The result favoured Chelsea, given their inconsistency over the last one-and-a-half seasons.

Marc Cucurella, Chelsea, Manchester City, Erling Haaland, VAR
An LED screen at Stamford Bridge shows VAR's penalty decision on Marc Cucurella's foul on Erling Haaland. Photo by Glyn Kirk.
Source: Getty Images

The Video Assistant Referee(VAR) had a say in the eight-goal thriller, as it has become the norm since its introduction a couple of seasons back.

Admittedly, the game wasn't marked by many incidents like the Tottenham-Chelsea clash on November 6. Centre referee Anthony Taylor relied on his decision-making most of the time, save for Erling Haaland's opener.

Marc Cucurella was adjudged to have fouled the Manchester City dangerman as the ball was swung into the area. Taylor failed to notice the incident the first time, but his assistant on the right, Gary Beswick, had a clear view before advising his colleague on what to do, per ESPN's Dale Johnson.

Not a clear and obvious error

Taylor then pointed to the spot before the matter was referred to the VAR. Replays showed that both players held each other, which cancelled out the possibility of a foul on either player. The Chelsea right-back, however, continued holding on to the Norwegian, who went tumbling onto the turf, making the decision easy for the officials.

VAR Jarred Gillett overlooked Haaland's foul and opted not to refer Taylor to the pitchside monitor as it was not deemed as a 'clear and obvious error' as per 90MIN.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher argued that it was a 50-50 challenge that could go either way and VAR can hardly overturn the original decision - however soft it may seem.

"Cucurella doesn't let go and hauls him to the ground. I can see why the referee has given it. The assistant has obviously got the best view, and he's confirmed that to the VAR. It's never ever going to be overturned by VAR," he said as quoted by Football London.

VAR inconsistencies

But as has been the case with many of the VAR controversies, the glaring inconsistencies from one match day to another have been the source of confrontations.

The Cucurella incident wasn't awarded when Virgil Van Dijk was wrestled to the ground against Luton Town or Harry Maguire against the same opposition this past weekend.

Cucurella was also booked for his role in the foul before Haaland stepped up to score his first-ever goal against Chelsea.

Exciting news! We have a WhatsApp channel 🤩

➡️ Click to join our channel for all your favourite sports news.

Palmer tried to steal City's tactics

Sports Brief also reported on Palmer peeping inside City's huddle when his former teammates were deliberating on a freekick in a dangerous area in the additional minutes.

Dias sniffed him out before Erling Haaland pushed him away, with both players laughing, and Jack Grealish uttered inaudibly at the young attacker.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)