PSG coach Tuchel slams VAR as Rennes player avoids red card
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel slammed the video review system on Sunday after Rennes striker M’Baye Niang was allowed to stay on the field despite a wild challenge on defender Thilo Kehrer.
The incident 10 minutes before the end of the first half saw Niang launching into a reckless tackle and heavily catching Kehrer around his ankle. Referee Karim Abed showed Niang a yellow card, and maintained his decision despite a video review showing the lunge appeared to deserve a straight red with Kehrer’s lower leg bending under the weight of the clumsy challenge.
PSG won the game 4-1 to restore its 13-point lead at the top, but as he walked off the field at halftime Tuchel could not contain his rage.
“Go home, go home, take that (expletive),” cameras caught an irate Tuchel saying in English as he stormed off the field, while pointing his finger and gesticulating angrily as he ranted against the VAR review system.
As he walked through the tunnel to the dressing room, the German coach continued to express his frustration.
“Why do we have VAR? Why do we have VAR? Why?” he said, this time in French, adding a hint of sarcasm. “If it’s a penalty, if it’s not a penalty. If it’s a red card, not a red card. There’s no point looking at VAR anymore, it’s ridiculous.”
He was not the only one unhappy.
PSG striker Edinson Cavani, who scored twice in the game, unsuccessfully went looking for referee Abed at halftime.
“Hey ref. What are you going to whistle for?” Cavani said in French in footage captured by Canal Plus television. “With television (images) and you (make decisions) like that? That’s not possible.”
Cavani did not get to speak with Abed directly, but another PSG official questioned the official as he walked into the tunnel. The referee replied “You need to respect me.”
There was little respite on the night for Rennes.
Winger Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe also netted as PSG extended its unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 20 games this season. PSG has played two games less than second-placed Lille.
With Neymar facing an indefinite period of time out injured , it could become a race between Mbappe and Cavani to finish as Ligue 1′s top scorer. The 20-year-old Mbappe has a career-best 18, while the veteran Cavani has 16 and is one clear of Lille’s Nicolas Pepe.
Free-scoring PSG has 66 league goals so far, including 13 in the past two home games after routing Guingamp 9-0 last weekend .
Rennes was the last side to beat PSG in the league, winning 2-0 in Paris in last season’s penultimate game. Hopes of a repeat were dashed when Cavani pounced in the eighth minute.
Cavani showed great awareness to let a pass from midfield glide past him into the path of a sprinting Di Maria down the left. Di Maria’s cross into the penalty area was met by Cavani’s firm header.
Niang’s neat flick drew Rennes level in the 28th, but was lucky to stay on.
Tuchel watched anxiously, even more so considering he is already without the injured Neymar and Marco Verratti . PSG travels to face a reinvigorated Manchester United side for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Feb. 12.
In the space of little more than 10 second-half minutes, PSG ruthlessly punished Rennes for sloppily giving the ball away.
Di Maria deftly chipped goalkeeper Tomas Koubek in the 61st after latching onto Thiago Silva’s long pass; Julian Draxler set up Mbappe six minutes later for a clinical low finish; and Mbappe provided for Cavani’s tap-in after 72 minutes.
Jason Denayer headed in a second-half goal as Lyon won 1-0 at Amiens, keeping the pressure on Lille in the fight for second place and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Lyon is in third position, which secures a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds, and trails Lille by three points after 22 of 38 games. Lille won 2-1 Friday at Marseille .
Montpellier is sixth after winning 2-0 at home to Caen, thanks to second-half goals from striker Gaetan Laborde and an own-goal from center half Paul Baysse.
It was Montpellier’s first league win since beating Monaco on Dec. 1 during Thierry Henry’s ill-fated and short spell in charge of Monaco . Henry was fired on Friday as the club re-hired Leonardo Jardim who was fired to make way for Henry in October .
Toulouse drew 0-0 at home to Angers.