Enrique senses ‘something fishy’ as VAR takes time to decide Japan’s controversial second goal

After Thursday’s defeat to Japan, Spain manager Luis Enrique said he was surprised to see Japan’s second goal not getting cancelled.

Spain coach Luis Enrique looks dejected after the defeat to Japan at Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, on December 1, 2022.  

Spain coach Luis Enrique looks dejected after the defeat to Japan at Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, on December 1, 2022.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

After Thursday’s defeat to Japan, Spain manager Luis Enrique said he was surprised to see Japan’s second goal not getting cancelled.

Spain’s shocking 1-2 defeat to Japan on Thursday ended Germany’s FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign.

After Thursday’s result, Spain manager Luis Enrique said he was surprised to see Japan’s second goal not getting cancelled. Enrique also said he sensed something “was fishy” when VAR took a long time to determine the validity of the second goal.

“I have seen a photo that must have been tampered with, it cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” said Enrique while addressing the media.

Also Read | Who will Spain face in FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16?

“I felt that something fishy was going on when the VAR took as much time as it did to decide... I have nothing to say. Luckily the team only goes into collapse mode once every four years, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to cope,” he added.

Enrique admitted he was not happy with his team’s defeat to Japan despite making it to the knockouts.

“I am not happy at all. Yes, we have qualified, I would have liked to be on top of winning this game. This was impossible because in five minutes, Japan scored two goals ... we were out, we were dismantled,” said Enrique.

Although Spain lost its final group match, it advanced to the Last 16 due to a better goal difference with Germany. Hansi Flick’s side suffered a group-stage exit despite beating Costa Rica 4-2. Spain got off to a terrific start to the World Cup with a 7-0 win but played out a draw against Germany in its second game.

On Thursday, Spain took an early lead through an Alvaro Morata goal and controlled the game with greater possession. But things took a turn for the worse just when the second half started, with Japan equalising in the 48th minute with a goal by Ritus Doan and, three minutes later, Ao Tanaka scored a winner. Japan advanced to the Last 16 as group topper.

However, the second goal caused controversy as it looked like the ball had gone out of play before Kaoru Mitoma assisted Ao Tanaka, who made no mistake slotting it home.

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