César Azpilicueta unequivocal with his take on Sadio Mane elbow
Mane then opened the scoring for Liverpool
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane somehow escaped a red card just 15 seconds into his side's draw with Chelsea, after elbowing César Azpilicueta in the face.
The Senegalese attacker jumped to head the ball straight from kick-off, but he ended up elbowing the Chelsea defender as he jumped into the air.
Chelsea's players and fans were calling for Mane to be sent-off, however, referee Anthony Taylor opted for a yellow card instead.
Sadio Mane makes Chelsea pay
Mane made the most of the decision as he opened the scoring for the away side, capitalising on Trevoh Chalobah's defensive mistake.
The young defender attempted to head a low cross, but actually ended up allowing Liverpool's No 1o to round Edouard Mendy and smash the ball into the net.
Many football fans took to social media to question how the former Southampton man wasn't sent-off for his early challenge.
Sadio Mane runs around committing assault, not getting sent off, then scoring
— JB™️ (@gunnerpunner) January 2, 2022
Just insane to imagine how wildly different this game should have been had Sadio Mane been (deservedly) sent off and Pulisic scored that sitter. Bad day at the Bridge is getting worse.
— Gaylan Towle II (@MisterTowle2) January 2, 2022
Sadio Mane very lucky. Should have been sent off for that.
— Pips 🏆 (@pops095) January 2, 2022
Sadio Mane is such a dirty player man.. Should be sent off there.#CHELIV
— Noel Mickedy 🇮🇪 (@noelmickedy) January 2, 2022
'It is a clear red,' says César Azpilicueta
Prior to scoring the opener against the Blues, Mane had gone nine games without a goal for Liverpool. However, he showed his composure to round Mendy in the Chelsea goal and give the Reds the lead.
Liverpool made it 2-0 when Mohamed Salah calmly slotted past Mendy after a stunning pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold. Chelsea drew level through Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic, and the game ended 2-2. Following the match,
"It's a clear red," the Spaniard told Sky Sports. "It doesn't matter if it was only five seconds into the game - that action is a red.
"He doesn't want to challenge, he doesn't see the ball. He just wants to hit with the elbow. I honestly don't understand."
🗣 "It's a clear red, he doesn't want to challenge, he doesn't see the ball."
César Azpilicueta says he doesn't understand why Sadio Mane was not sent off in the opening moment of the match pic.twitter.com/GG82gWelcz
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 2, 2022
The result leaves Chelsea 10 points back from league leaders Manchester City, while Liverpool [albeit with a game in hand] are a point further back.
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