Former Premier League referee slams Craig Pawson after ‘big problem’ in Chelsea draw

Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has slammed Craig Pawson for his conduct during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at the weekend.

The Blues’ last-gasp winner was denied by the referee after VAR deemed a foul before Axel Disasi’s goal. Villa looked set to overwhelm Chelsea as they led 2-0 at half-time thanks to a Mark Cucurella own-goal and a superb individual strike from playmaker Morgan Rogers.

However, Mauricio Pochettino’s rousing half-time speech seemed to ignite the Blues’ fury and Noni Maduk reduced the deficit in the 62nd minute. Connor Gallagher then equalized with a superb strike into the top corner with nine minutes remaining and Chelsea believed they had sealed the tie in the dying seconds.

The Blues erupted in celebration when Disasi headed past substitute goalkeeper Robin Olsen from close range after receiving a cross from Benoit Badiashle. However, their joy was short-lived when Pawson was prompted to review the clash between Diego Carlos and Badyashler, who was seen pushing the defender back to gain an advantage during the battle for the ball.

The decision sparked outrage from Pochettino and his team, with former referee Halsey accusing Pawson of not awarding Villa a free kick initially. He told The Sun: “I’m confused as to why VAR got involved because it wasn’t an obvious mistake.

“Referee Craig Pawson was clear about the incident as he looked both players straight in the eye and allowed the game to continue. If Pawson thought it was Benoit Badiachlet vs Diego Ca Lose’s foul, then why didn’t he just award a free kick and leave?

READ MORE: Carlos’ comments on VAR call anger Pochettino

READ MORE: What Chelsea players did after Villa says it all

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