JUSTICE for Edinson Cavani, revenge for Manchester United and a near-fatal blow to Tottenham’s hope of Champions League qualification.
United had been seething with rage ever since a Cavani ‘opener’ had been ruled out because of a supposed foul by Scott McTominay on a theatrical Son Heung-Min.
Edinson Cavani inspired Man Utd’s latest comeback win as they beat Spurs 3-1Credit: Getty
The veteran striker scored a fine diving header to avenge his first-half effort which was ruled out by VARCredit: Reuters
Fred equalised and Cavani netted with a diving header from a gorgeous Mason Greenwood cross as United avenged their 6-1 defeat by Spurs back in October.
Not even the most optimistic United fan will imagine a late collapse from runaway leaders Manchester City – but Solskjaer’s team are delaying the coronation of their rivals with some strong late-season form.
This match was far more important for Spurs – who are now adrift in seventh on a weekend when their top-four rivals West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool all won.
Spurs lacked ambition and tossed away yet more points from a winning position – which has been the story of their frustrating season.
In truth, though, there was not enough ambition or quality about Jose Mourinho’s side.
The Son-McTominay incident had hardly been out of character in a first half which was low on tempo, low on quality and high rolling around and screaming.
Mourinho was fuming early on when Serge Aurier went in heavily on Paul Pogba, who appeared to respond with an elbow.
MARK HALSEY’S VIEW
EDINSON CAVANI should not have had a first-half goal disallowed at Tottenham.
I felt Scott McTominay did not commit a foul on Son Heung-Min in the build-up to Cavani’s strike.
It was a slight hand-off by the Manchester United midfielder, the sort you see in every football match and nowhere near enough contact to force the Spurs forward to go down in the matter he did.
The incident wasn’t a clear and obvious error by referee Chris Kavanagh and a subjective decision to allow play to continue.
It was fine for VAR to check Cavani’s resulting goal but official Craig Pawson at Stockley Park should not have recommended a review.
VAR have re-refereed the incident because as soon as Kavanagh went to the monitor he was under huge pressure to overturn his original decision.
Kavanagh should have mentally tough enough to stick with his initial call as he was in an excellent position.
The PGMOL explanation of this incident was nonsense and showed a major lack of understanding of football. Contact in football is not always a foul.
If the officials deemed McTominay was a foul then why wasn’t Paul Pogba punished for a worse action on Serge Aurier earlier in the half?
This is where the inconsistency drives everyone in the game mad and it is no surprise both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said afterwards they don’t understand the decision making anymore.
United dealt Spurs’ top four hopes a huge blow with victory in LondonCredit: PA
Cavani was the man of the moment before Mason Greenwood consolidated United’s leadCredit: Getty
Then Tanguy Ndombele almost out-did Arsenal’s Alex Lacazette – the undisputed king of the over-scream – as he reacted at high volume to get Scott McTominay booked for an innocuous challenge.
Marcus Rashford then joined the theatrics after a challenge from Gio Lo Celso.
United staged one decent attack before their disallowed goal – a lofted pass from Bruno Fernandes, a Pogba knock-down, a Cavani pass and Marcus Rashford’s shot deflected wide.
Then that fateful flick of the fingers from McTominay after Son had tried to drag him back.
Cavani’s first-half opener was disallowed due to a foul by Scott McTominay on Son Heung-MinCredit: Sky Sports
Son was left in a heap on the floor and United’s goal was ruled out after the ref checked the pitchside monitorCredit: PA
What followed was excellent from United, but ultimately irrelevant – Fred feeding Pogba who showed happy feet before rolling a pass to Cavani, who found the net.
VAR Craig Pawson, a sensitive old soul, felt Son had been fouled. Nobody who has ever played football can honestly have felt the same.
It was at least the third time this weekend we’d all imagined we’d just seen the worst VAR decision of the season. But it’s progress, innit?
It was inevitable that Son would score.
Son then turned the game on its head by putting Spurs in front moments laterCredit: Reuters
It was inevitable the South Korean would score soon after the controversial VAR decisionCredit: Getty
The brave soldier had received almost five minute of treatment for that scrape of the fingernail but he showed no ill-effects as he tapped home Lucas Moura’s squared pass after a neat move from Spurs.
Cavani was booked for a spot of afters on Joe Rodon as United, quite understandably, lost their heads.
United, bristling from their injustice, began the second half at full pelt – McTominay having a shot saved before Fred evened things up.
The Brazilian midfielder had released Cavani for a shot which was pushed out by Hugo Lloris, then he reacted quickest to poke home.
Fred restored parity for United in the second halfCredit: Getty
The Brazilian’s equaliser instilled United with fresh heart and driveCredit: Reuters
Son almost restored Tottenham’s lead with a shot saved by Dean Henderson’s feet.
A Fernandes drive forced the save of the match from Lloris and Pogba then tripped himself up attempting a back-heeled finish, in a move which would have made Mourinho smirk.
Kane, who had been quiet by his standards, then began to make an impression.
First he toasted Maguire to earn his England team-mate a booking, then he twisted past Aaron Wan-Bissaka and produced a shot which forced Henderson to get busy with his feet again.
Cavani’s excellent header sealed the turnaround for UnitedCredit: PA
Cavani looks set to leave United this summer but will always remember his goal against SpursCredit: Getty
So Spurs had been having their moments before United conjured their peachy winner – Fernandes nutmegging Sergio Reguilon with a pass to Mason Greenwood who delivered a gorgeous curving cross which Cavani met with a diving header.
Cavani headed against his own post while defending a corner but that was the closest Spurs came to an equaliser.
And Greenwood rammed home a third deep in injury-time, collecting Pogba’s pass and beating Lloris at his near post.
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Greenwood then joined in the action to make sure of the winCredit: Eddie Keogh Telegraph Media Group
United will have been delighted to avenge their 6-1 defeat to Spurs earlier this seasonCredit: Getty