Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rudiger's Fury over His 'Joke' Booking; Defender Pleads Innocence after Clashing with Bernard

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rudiger's Fury over His 'Joke' Booking; Defender Pleads Innocence after Clashing with Bernard

Article excerpt

Byline: Chelsea 0 Everton 0 Simon Johnson

CHELSEA defender Antonio Rudiger has labelled the decision to book him against Everton as 'a joke'.

Rudiger and Everton midfielder Bernard were both shown a yellow card by referee Kevin Friend after clashing in first-half injury time of yesterday's goalless draw.

The Germany international reacted angrily to the Everton player falling to the ground and the latter then appeared to retaliate by raising his head toward Rudiger's chin.

Rudiger cannot believe Bernard got away with just a booking from referee Kevin Friend and that he was given the same punishment.

He said: "It's annoying because I don't even tackle someone, do something and I get booked for being head-butted. Sorry but that's a joke.

"He [Bernard] was diving and I told him to 'stand up'. Then he came with a lot of speed and hit me with his forehead, so for me to get a yellow card -- to me that's a joke.

"The referee didn't see anything.

Perhaps it's the fourth official who was outside [the pitch], maybe he said something to him [Friend] that I had provoked [the player] or something but I just said 'stand up'."

In April, Premier League clubs voted against VAR -- the system which uses another match official to review TV replays of key incidents -- being used in the top flight this season.

Rudiger claims Everton would have had to play the second half with 10 men had VAR been in operation now. He added: "If there is VAR in England, then Bernard has a problem. He would be sent off."

Rudiger was criticised by former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who was working as a TV pundit, for going down too easily.

Meanwhile, the Chelsea centre-back admits the club can forget about competing with Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race if they keep dropping crucial points. …

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