Manchester City had a late goal from Gabriel Jesus ruled out by VAR video review as they drew 2-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday — their first league home game without victory in nearly eight months.
An outstanding game of football, with two teams of technically gifted players competing at a relentless tempo was decided by a video review, which spotted a handball which would never have been given under the previous laws on handling.
Jesus drove in what looked like the winner in added time but while City were celebrating, the VAR review had spotted the ball brushing the arm of City defender Aymeric Laporte before the Brazilian struck home.
The new handball ruling has removed the need for intent to be considered. Even accidental contact with the hand is enough to rule out a goal.
The drama — and the bitter feeling of celebrating victory only to end up seeing it taken away — was all too familiar for City who had exited the Champions League in April to Spurs when they had a late ‘winner’ from Raheem Sterling ruled out by VAR.
“To be honest, I thought it was a goal. It’s a bit unlucky for City. Anyone can have a different interpretation of the moment. But we are very pleased with the point,” said Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
“I looked to the screen and realised there was a handball which is good for us and unlucky for City but there are many games ahead. For now, we just need to enjoy the moment,” he said.
The drama and controversy will overshadow an excellent encounter which City dominated for large stretches.
Pep Guardiola’s side had taken the lead in the 20th minute when Kevin De Bruyne swung in a cross from the right which Sterling met at the back post with a textbook header.
But City’s advantage lasted less than three minutes as Erik Lamela fired Spurs level after he was expertly picked out by Tanguy Ndombele.
The setback failed to hold back Guardiola’s side and it was no surprise when Sergio Aguero restored their lead in the 35th minute, with De Bruyne once again the provider with a low ball superbly turned in at the near post by the Argentine.
Again City camped in the Spurs half, peppering Hugo Loris’s goal, but once more the visitors fought back.
Mauricio Pochettino sent on Lucas Moura as a substitute and the Brazilian scored with his first touch, beating Kyle Walker to head in a Lamela corner.
Then came the late drama and controversy as VAR once again stole the headlines.