Brendan Rodgers has told Sky Sports (broadcast on 7/7 from 20:00) that Eddie Nketiah was correctly sent off during Leicester City’s draw with Arsenal, but added that he does not believe that the Gunners youngster had any intention of hurting James Justin.
Nketiah endured a tough night at the Emirates on Tuesday. He was brought on with just under 20 minutes remaining, but his night was brought to an end shortly after.
The striker made a challenge on Justin. The VAR looked at the incident a number of times before recommending that the referee view the pitch side monitor to decide whether to send Nketiah off.
And upon taking a quick look, the official did indeed choose to show a red card to the 21-year-old.
And following the game, Rodgers insisted that ultimately the right decision was made – though he did also defend Nketiah.
“It was a clear red card. I don’t think young Eddie tried to make the challenge that he did,” he told Sky Sports.
“He’s obviously stretching for it. But you can clearly see the ball’s bounced up, he’s stretching his leg. I’m just thankful JJ’s not injured worse than the challenge that he had. So I thought it was a red.”
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It is difficult to not have some sympathy for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta following the 1-1 draw.
It did appear to be the right decision to send Nketiah off. But the idea that the referee made a clear and obvious mistake became difficult to argue based on the number of times the VAR watched the replay of the incident without making a decision.
And some will certainly argue that Jamie Vardy should have been sent off much earlier in the game after catching Shkodran Mustafi in the face.
It is almost impossible to ascertain how much control Vardy had in the clash.
But had a red card been shown to Vardy by the referee, the VAR would have surely struggled to find a reason to overturn the decision.