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11th May 2022

‘Reckless’ Dan James sent off for horror tackle on Mateo Kovacic

Daniel Brown

Dan James tackle

James was sent off in the 24th minute.

Graeme Souness has criticised Leeds United winger Dan James for his shocking challenge in the first half of the Whites’ Premier League clash against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Chelsea opened the scoring against Jesse Marsch’s men in the fourth minute through Mason Mount, with the 23-year-old finishing expertly after some good play from Reece James.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side as James was shown a red card in the 24th minute by referee Anthony Taylor for a shocking tackle on Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

The Welshman was first to the ball, but his challenge was unnecessarily high on Kovacic’s leg – which led to immediate protests from the Chelsea players.

Kovacic was able to walk to the touchline with the help of the club physio, before making his way back onto the field. He played on for just a few moments before he fell to the ground again, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming on to replace him.

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who were already dominating the tie at Elland Road prior to James’ red card, continued to enjoy the majority of possession and even had the ball in the back of the net once again.

However, Lukaku – who was making his second start in a row – was in an offside possession when the ball was played through, leading to the goal being ruled out.

James criticised by Souness at half-time.,

The former Manchester United man was criticised by Souness at half-time of the match, with the Liverpool legend adamant that the Welshman deserved to be sent off.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “It’s reckless. Yes, he gets the ball, but then his studs catch the rest of Kovacic.

“He gets the ball, but he gets more of the players, it’s a dangerous tackle and it’s a red card.”

When told that Leeds boss Marsch, who rewatched the tackle on a tablet, Souness added: “In the heat of battle, you see things differently when you’re on the touchline.

“It’s a sending off, he’s endangered an opponent.”

Chelsea doubled their lead in the 55th minute courtesy of Christian Pulisic’s goal, and wrapped up all three points when Romelu Lukaku scored in the second half.

Leeds remains in the bottom three of the Premier League after the 3-0 defeat.

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