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Czech midfielder Soucek caught Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow just outside the penalty area - but the contact appeared fleeting and entirely accidental. There certainly wasn't any malice involved.
Yet Mitrovic went down clutching his face and Lee Mason - on VAR duty - told Dean to have a look at the incident.
West Ham's Tomas Soucek was sent off late in his side's 0-0 draw with Fulham after referee Mike Dean decided this incident was worthy of a red card pic.twitter.com/r7YJBwagzU- Sky Sports (@SkySports) February 6, 2021
Dean studied the monitor for almost two minutes before returning to the pitch and brandishing a red card at Soucek, who protested his innocence.
Soucek and Mark Noble both tried to persuade Dean that this was anything but an incident of violent conduct, while Hammers boss David Moyes looks absolutely shocked on the touchline.
:speaking_head:"The fact Mike Dean went over there and still thinks it's a red card is a genuine worry to me"- Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 6, 2021
Jamie Redknapp is not happy with Tomas Soucek's late red card in the West Ham V Fulham game pic.twitter.com/5Ms9mYqglq
Can't find a soul on here that thinks that's a red card. How can both Lee Mason and Mike Dean both see it as a red? Tomas Soucek must get that overturned.- Gary Lineker :blue_heart: (@GaryLineker) February 6, 2021
Absolutely no way on this earth is that an intentional elbow. Not even a difficult decision to make https://t.co/AhkenxzAaK- Charlie Stewart (@_CharlieStewart) February 6, 2021
If only they had some technology to come to the right decision- mufcjord (@jordan42098020) February 6, 2021
"I'm embarrassed for whoever has done VAR tonight," said Moyes post-match, per BBC Sport.
"It was obvious to everyone it was accidental. I'm really embarrassed they chose to send him off. We want them to get the decisions right. It comes down to a poor decision and we can't do much about it.
"It's unfair to the boy. I'm sure they will come up with enough excuses to justify the reason for sending him off."
At least West Ham being down to 10 men did not impact the remaining minutes of the game, which finished in a stalemate.
The fact that Mike Dean stares at this for a good two minutes or so and *still* manages to make the completely wrong decision and send Soucek off shows that he and VAR are unfit for purpose. #FULWHU https://t.co/bYjTBibIi7- Callum (@CJRivett12) February 6, 2021
Featured image credit: PA Images/Sky Sports
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