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Dominic Calvert-Lewin red card: Everton Crystal Palace decision was plain wrong | Football | Sport

As miscarriages of justice go Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s red card may not be up there with Mr Bates vs The Post Office but it was plain wrong all the same.

Calvert-Lewin’s tackle on Nathaniel Clyne was a rubbish one but not a bad one. There is a difference.

It was a centre-forward’s challenge in the sense that there was a distinct lack of expertise involved but not a hatchet job.

Calvert-Lewin slid into it in a less than controlled manner but it was not serious foul play, as defined by the laws of the game, because there was no excessive force and nor did it endanger the safety of an opponent.

You might have thought so from Clyne’s over-the-top reaction – par for the course sadly in the Premier League – but the “brutality” the law also specifies was totally absent.

No wonder the Everton striker looked perplexed afterwards.

Top-level football is better for the clampdown on potential leg-breaker tackles. Anyone who argues otherwise should stick to UFC for their violent kicks. But this was in no way a Graeme Souness or a Roy Keane shocker.

It was a No 9 performing a role better left to a No 5.

The still-frame image, with Calvert-Lewin’s leg straight and his studs visible, may have painted an incriminating picture but the reality played out in real time was of a relatively innocuous incident.

Referee Chris Kavanagh, who was well positioned when he allowed play to go on at the time, should have stuck with his initial instincts rather than be persuaded by VAR’s unhelpful intervention.

Sometimes you are left wondering whether VAR officials feel the need to involve themselves in a game to justify their presence.

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