David Moyes blasts Fabian Balbuena red card decision as West Ham lose to Chelsea

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Andy Sims, PA
·3-min read
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David Moyes blasted the “rank, rotten” decision to send off Fabian Balbuena as VAR controversy reared its ugly head again in West Ham’s 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.

Paraguayan defender Balbuena was shown one of the most ludicrous red cards of the season nine minutes before the end, as he launched a long clearance and caught Ben Chilwell on the calf with his foot as he brought it back down.

Not a single Chelsea player complained and play continued, but VAR intervened and referee Chris Kavanagh dutifully trotted to the monitor before sending the disbelieving centre-half off.

Fabian Balbuena was sent off
Fabian Balbuena was sent off (Alastair Grant/PA)

“For me the big thing is it’s a really rank, rotten decision and it shouldn’t be given,” said Hammers boss Moyes.

“I don’t know who stopped the game, I thought it was supposed to be clear and obvious, but it tells me someone who has never played the game has made the decision. I don’t see anywhere else where he can put his foot.

“And Chilwell got back up and crossed a ball into the box so it can’t have been too bad. I don’t see how that can be a red card, I really don’t.”

The incident overshadowed an important win for Chelsea in the race for the top four.

A rare goal from Timo Werner, only his second in the league since November, saw the Blues move three points clear of their fifth-placed hosts.

It was hardly Super League stuff from Thomas Tuchel’s side, but they got the job done ahead of a genuine European showdown against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

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Chelsea went ahead before the break after Werner laid the ball off to Christian Pulisic and then raced into the box to receive Chilwell’s low cross and convert from eight yards.

Werner should have doubled the lead shortly after half-time when Lukasz Fabianski beat out a shot from Mason Mount.

The ball fell to the German four yards out with the goal at his mercy but he somehow shanked his shot wide, to the disbelief of Tuchel.

Werner did at least see the funny side, telling Sky Sports: “One goal is enough. Two goals might be too much for the beginning.”

Thomas Tuchel's side got an important win
Thomas Tuchel’s side got an important win (Andy Rain/PA)

Tuchel did not agree, insisting: “He needs to keep on scoring and catch the moment.

“He’s often involved in the goals. But nothing helps more than a decisive goal.

“He was very strong from the start, he was involved in many chances. He could have had a second, for sure. But it was a good performance and I’m happy.

“It was a big win. It’s very significant because it’s so difficult to win here.”