‘It’s a CLEAR red card!’ Cesar Azpilicueta left furious after Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was not sent off for elbowing him in opening seconds of Chelsea’s draw with the Reds before hitting out at lack of consistency from top flight officials
- Sadio Mane elbowed Cesar Azpilicueta in the face just six second into the game
- The Liverpool forward was booked for the foul on the Chelsea captain
- Yet Azpilicueta felt the challenge was worthy of a much harsher punishment
- Azpiliceuta also highlighted the frustrating lack of refereeing consistency
Cesar Azpilicueta believes Sadio Mane should have been sent off after he was elbowed by the Liverpool forward during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with the Reds on Sunday.
In an extraordinary incident that occurred just six seconds after-kick-off, the Blues captain was caught in the face by a leading arm from Mane while battling for an aerial ball during the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Mane was booked for his challenge that left the Blues skipper down on the ground, resulting in him picking up the fastest recorded Premier League yellow card in history.
Cesar Azpilicueta confronts Sadio Mane after being elbowed by him in the opening seconds
Mane struck the Chelsea defender just six seconds into the 2-2 Premier League draw
But Azpilicueta believes the punishment should have been much harsher and that the Reds forward was lucky to stay on the field.
‘It’s a clear red. It doesn’t matter if it’s five seconds into the game,’ Azpilicueta told Sky Sports.
‘He doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball he just wanted to hit with the elbow.
‘Today the first action is a clear red card. And clearly we are getting these decisions against us and it could change a lot the way of the game.’
Mane was booked by referee Anthony Taylor following the Liverpool forward’s foul
The defender’s frustrations were extended towards the standard of officiating across the Premier League, believing that the top flight is now in a situation where soft penalties are awarded, yet dangerous tackles are unpunished in a lack of any consistency with decision making.
‘Sometimes we see joke of penalties and sometimes we see dangerous actions and we don’t take action’ he continued.
‘We see there are few games where referees become a bit softer in terms of penalties or red cards then it turns opposite you know because they speak I don’t know what happens.
The challenge has left Azpiliceuta (right) frustrated with the lack of refereeing consistency
‘We don’t see the same consistency in the same game or even through the season. It’s disappointing these kinds of decisions are clear, I watched the replay, I didn’t even need this because in life I knew that it was a clear red.’
Mane went on to have a major impact on the match, opening the scoring for Liverpool who then led 2-0 after Mohamed Salah added to his team-mate’s strike in the first half.
But the Blues pulled a couple of goals back to level before the break with Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic ensuring the points were shared.
Mane eventually scored the opening goal for Liverpool in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge
It leaves Chelsea second in the table a point ahead of Liverpool but 10 points behind league leaders Manchester City, who Azpilicueta admits are setting an incredibly high benchmark.
‘They are the ones at the top and most points,’ he added. ‘It’s football we know how it works they have been setting the standards really high in terms of points in the Premier League.
‘They are a quality team and playing together for a while, we needed to raise our level and we are getting there but until now we didn’t reach that level of consistency that could keep us at the top.’