Tottenham’s bid to reach the Champions League knockout stage will go down to the last group-stage game after VAR denied Harry Kane a late winner against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.
Spurs had to settle for a 1-1 draw, meaning it faces a nervous final group game against Marseille to secure qualification to the round of 16.
Kane sparked huge celebrations when scoring deep into stoppage time. But after a lengthy review, the England’s captain’s effort was adjudged offside, prompting a furious reaction from manager Antonio Conte, who was shown a red card.
“I think the ball was in front of Kane and the goal is a goal,” Conte told BT Sport afterwards. “VAR is doing a lot of damage. I want to see if in another stadium of a big team if they are ready to disallow this type of goal. I’d like to know this.”
It is now all to play for on the final match day in Group D next Tuesday, with just two points separating leader Tottenham and bottom-placed Marseille.
Tottenham needs at least a draw in the final game to ensure qualification to the next round.
Former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards put Sporting ahead in the 23rd minute when shooting low past Hugo Loris from 25 yards.
The home team improved in the second half, with Eric Dier’s acrobatic volley forcing a save from Antonio Adan.
The Sporting goalkeeper then denied Matt Doherty with a save at his near post.
Flavio Nazinho might have wrapped it up for the visitors before Rodrigo Bentancur equalized with nine minutes remaining by heading in Ivan Perisic’s corner.
When Kane then swivelled to fire in Emerson Royal’s knockdown it looked like being enough to secure qualification to the knockout stage with a game to spare. But in the midst of the celebrations, VAR intervened.
After a nervous wait for Conte, Tottenham’s players and fans, the goal was finally ruled out for a marginal offside.
“I think you can see from the celebrations we thought we won it,” Doherty told BT Sport. “I don’t really know what happened at the end.
“I thought because it went backwards and hit a defender it was a different phase of play. I’ll have to look at the rule book. A few of us don’t have a clue what happened.”
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