Chelsea 3-2 Brighton - How VAR helped Pochettino's men steal a win

How VAR helped Chelsea beat Brighton

Chelsea 3-2 Brighton - How VAR helped Pochettino's men steal a win

Tunde Young 20:49 - 03.12.2023

Chelsea beat Brighton 3-2 in a hard-fought Premier League encounter thanks to some help from the Video Assistant Referees

Chelsea returned to winning ways with a narrow 3-2 home win against Brighton which had its moments of controversies to put it mildly.

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The Blues will be happy to have bounced back from the 4-1 embarrassment away at Newcastle last weekend but many at Stamford Bridge would certainly be grateful to the much-maligned Video Assistant Referees for the three points against Brighton.

The ten men of Chelsea battled on for long stretches of the game, often second-best after captain Conor Gallagher got sent off for a second yellow on the stroke of halftime.

Pochettino's team raced into a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half thanks to Enzo Fernandez and Levi Colwill's first Premier League goals but of course, things hardly come easy for Chelsea.

Levi Colwill celebrates his first Chelsea goal (IMAGO)

Facundo Buonanotte pulled one back for Brighton in the 43rd minute and Gallagher's red card followed just two minutes later to set up a tense second half for Chelsea.

Brighton had 78% possession in the second half, completely reflective of their utter dominance in the second half and there are legitimate reasons to believe VAR is the main reason they did not leave Stamford Bridge with a favourable result. 

VAR awards a penalty for Chelsea's third goal

Chelsea were able to douse the Brighton onslaught by scoring a third goal to once again restore their two-goal margin but that goal came in controversial circumstances.

James Milner fouled Mykhaylo Mudryk in the box (IMAGO)

Winger Mykhaylo Mudryk was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by James Milner who was subsequently booked and a penalty was awarded which Enzo Fernandez dispatched with ease.

However, a heavy touch by Mudryk meant he had already lost control of the ball which was being corralled by Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele by the time Milner got to him.

The penalty was not given initially by the on-field referee Craig Pawson who then changed his mind and decision after being advised by the VAR to go for a pitch-side review.

The use of VAR saved Chelsea in that instant, helping them get a golden opportunity to score a third goal and earn a bit more breathing room which proved crucial.

VAR saved Chelsea from conceding a late penalty

Despite the third Chelsea goal which by the way came against the run of play on a counter-attack, Brighton immediately went back on the front foot, making their one-man advantage apparent.

Enzo Fernandez scores for Chelsea || Credit: Imago

Substitute Joao Pedro scored a header from a corner kick in the second minute of 10 added minutes to set up a nervy ending which crescendoed with almost the last kick of the game.

Brighton pressed for the equaliser throughout the closing stages and thought they got the golden opportunity needed when the referee awarded a penalty in the 100th minute.

The ball hits Chelsea defender Levi Colwill in the face but the centre referee points to the spot for a penalty even after a lengthy VAR review which was baffling to say the least.

It took an insistence from VAR for referee Craig Pawson to reverse the penalty decision and he was forced to restart play with a drop ball instead of what would have been a Brighton corner kick.

Brighton have every right to feel hard done by even as the penalty was indeed not legitimate, they could have benefited just as much from a late corner kick with all the momentum on their side.

Chelsea have struggled with defending against set pieces this season and even conceded from a Brighton corner just minutes before the controversy so De Zerbi would feel they were robbed of a good chance to make something of the game.