Sadio Mane was shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Cesar Azplicueta in the opening moments of the 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Senegal international can count himself lucky that he wasn’t shown a red card for what was an offence that could have resulted in a sending off in the first minute of the game.
There are a few factors that came into play that may have swayed referee Anthony Taylor’s thinking as well as the decision making of VAR and that’s how early in the game the challenge was made.
The foul was committed inside 20 seconds and very few referees will show red cards that early into a game except for egregious breaches of the regulations and so the Liverpool forward was fortunate in that sense.
He also didn’t catch him flush with his elbow but rather with his hand/forearm which meant the blow wasn’t as severe but Tuchel understandably feels aggrieved as it was a needless challenge.
“The elbow is in the face – it doesn’t matter if you do this after 20 seconds or 20 minutes.”
Tuchel’s frustrations were compounded 8 minutes later when Mane pounced on an error from Trevor Chalobah, rounded Edouard Mendy and thrashed the ball past the same man he whacked in the face to make it 1-0 to Liverpool.
Those of a Chelsea persuasion likely would have been furious in that moment as, in their view, Mane should not have been on the pitch and it was pretty predictable that he was influencing the result in that way so soon after.
Mason Mount was also involved in a VAR review incident after the video assistant referee was asked to look at a kick out at Kostas Tsimikas from the Englishman but no red card was given.
It wasn’t the biggest lash out but Mount is lucky Tsimikas didn’t make a bigger deal out of the contact as it could have seen him given his marching orders.