ESPN FC's Craig Burley calls on the Premier League to expedite the implementation of VAR after Abdoulaye Doucoure's controversial equalizer against Southampton. Southampton looked destined to end their 10-match winless run in the Premier League, but Watford earned a share of the spoils with a late equalizer. English Premier League: Abdoulaye Doucoure (90') Watford 2-2 Southampton
Troy Deeney admitted Watford's controversial equaliser against Southampton would not have stood if a Video Assistant Referee had been in attendance.
Abdoulaye Doucoure secured a 2-2 draw for the Hornets with a blatant handball in the final minute.
The French midfielder stooped to nod Deeney's header back across goal into the net -- but the ball missed his head and he swept it home with his hand.
BBC pundit Martin Keown said Doucoure had "done a Maradona," and even Watford skipper Deeney admitted his side were fortunate.
The new VAR system has had a fairly gentle introduction in the past week, but it would have been the centre of attention at Vicarage Road.
"If VAR had come in we probably wouldn't get that but today we got it. It's the luck of the draw," Deeney told Sky Sports. Yet how referee Roger East and linesman Derek Eaton missed Doucoure's sucker punch was a mystery.
Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino was remarkably restrained given the decision had cost his side a first Premier League win in 10 matches.
"My feeling is like the players, we are a little bit sad," he said. "The last goal is something that surprised me because in the Premier League the level of referees is good. It's clear (handball).
"Everybody makes mistakes but the problem is at this level you have a lot to play for so we are disappointed.
"From the bench it is more difficult to see but the referee and the linesman are closer. I imagine the referee is not happy now."Abdoulaye Doucoure appeared to use his hand to net Watford's equaliser.
A sheepish Marco Silva, the Watford boss, admitted: "I don't need to talk about the goal. I think everybody can see. It's something that can happen."
Southampton, who kicked off only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, were on the verge of a much-needed win after two first-half goals from James Ward-Prowse.
The midfielder tucked in Shane Long's cut-back after 21 minutes and doubled the lead after more superb work from the industrious Long.
The striker raced 60 yards along the touchline to beat Molla Wague to a clearance and crossed for Dusan Tadic, who laid the ball off for Ward-Prowse to fire home.
Andre Gray pulled one back before the hour when he bundled in the rebound after Daryl Janmaat's shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Alex McCarthy.
Then came the late drama which prevented Watford from slipping to a seventh defeat in their last eight matches.
"I think we deserved the result," added Silva. "It's true we did well in the second half. The first half was really bad but we redressed that balance.
"We didn't play with the right mentality or attitude in the first half. In the second we scored two goals and could have scored more. It's an important moment for us."Comments