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Cherries go level, then go two behind

Burnley 3 Bournemouth 0

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Bournemouth’s Harry Wilson scores a goal which was disallowed by VAR, which gave a penalty to Burnley at the other end from which they scored. Photo: PA

Bournemouth’s Harry Wilson scores a goal which was disallowed by VAR, which gave a penalty to Burnley at the other end from which they scored. Photo: PA

PA

Bournemouth’s Harry Wilson scores a goal which was disallowed by VAR, which gave a penalty to Burnley at the other end from which they scored. Photo: PA

It was VAR that ruined the afternoon - not the miserable weather - especially for Eddie Howe and his players, who saw an opening goal harshly chalked off in the first half, and then what looked like an equaliser converted into a Burnley penalty.

This is what the video assistant referee can do at the moment. Bournemouth players were celebrating at one end after Harry Wilson had taken Callum Wilson's pass and slipped the ball under goalkeeper Nick Pope. But the game was then halted because VAR was inspecting an incident a few seconds earlier, when a Dwight McNeil cross had struck Adam Smith on the shoulder in the opposite penalty area.

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Burnley's Jeff Hendrick and Bournemouth's Adam Smith challenge for the ball. Photo: Reuters

Burnley's Jeff Hendrick and Bournemouth's Adam Smith challenge for the ball. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Burnley's Jeff Hendrick and Bournemouth's Adam Smith challenge for the ball. Photo: Reuters

It was very hard to construe Smith's attempted clearance as deliberate handball, but possibly because of another VAR interruption involving a shoulder in the first half, that was what was eventually settled upon. The ball was brought back the length of the pitch, Jay Rodriguez scored from the spot, and the unlucky visitors had to stomach the score going from 1-1 to 2-0.

"I think it's so difficult for the players today. It was too much in the latter stage of the game once the VAR decision, the second one happened, I thought we fell apart a little bit mentally and then Burnley came into the game," Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said.

"But I think up until that point, we'd been the better team and the difference of 1-1 and 2-0 is huge and I just don't think we recovered from that moment.

"I think if that (the first VAR decision) one doesn't get given, I don't think the second one gets given either, because is that a clear and obvious error from Mike Dean? I'm not sure it is -it's so grey. Who knows where that hit, only Adam Smith knows. The only positive I can give is we have to look at this as extra fuel, extra motivation that things can be perceived to be going against you, but we have to use it to create a siege mentality, to create a mentality that is everyone against us in our pursuit to stay in the division."

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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

Action Images via Reuters

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

Burnley had only been in front for five minutes before the controversy, Matej Vydra finding the net for the second time in two outings after McNeil slipped him into space. Francis came across rather late with an ineffective challenge that left him on the floor, allowing Vydra to calmly slip the ball beyond the advancing Aaron Ramsdale.

Out on the windy Moor the first half was a collection of missed chances and wasted opportunities. Callum Wilson started it after just a couple of minutes, bringing a sharp reaction save from Pope when he probably should have scored. Then at the other end Vydra did well to get goalside of Francis, but having checked inside again to give himself a better shooting angle, proceeded to put his attempt too close to Ramsdale.

Bournemouth thought they had taken the lead midway through the half when Josh King poked the ball over the line from Andrew Surman's corner, only for VAR to disallow the effort after Mike Dean had given it for an alleged handball by Philip Billing.

The midfielder emphatically did not handle the ball to deflect it towards King, it came off a defender and hit him on the point of the shoulder. The decision looked even worse a few minutes later when Francis really did handle in the area after scuffing a clearance, only for the referee to wave play on.

Once they were 2-0 in front and playing against somewhat dispirited opponents, Burnley had several opportunities to make victory more emphatic, notably when Vydra failed to hit the target at the far post and when McNeil crashed a shot against an upright 10 minutes from time.

McNeil made up for that miss in the closing minutes, picking up the ball on halfway and driving though the Bournemouth defence to beat Ramsdale from the edge of the area.

Observer

Sunday Indo Sport