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Tuchel, Conte revel in pair of sideline faceoffs

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Published in Soccer
Sunday, 14 August 2022 13:42

Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte admitted they enjoyed their touchline bust-up after both managers were sent off at the end of a stormy 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The pair had to be separated twice by staff and players following both of Spurs' equalisers, the first from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg cancelling out Kalidou Koulibaly's 19th-minute opener. After Reece James appeared to give the home side a precious victory with a low drive in the 77th minute, Harry Kane drew Spurs level again in the sixth minute of added time.

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Conte celebrated Hojbjerg's goal in the direction of Tottenham's travelling support, but also towards the Chelsea dugout, and the managers came face-to-face as Tuchel furiously questioned fourth official Peter Bankes over why a tackle by Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz in the build-up had not been given as a foul.

That sparked the first of two melees, the second of which came deep in stoppage time. Spurs defender Cristian Romero appeared to pull Marc Cucurella back by the hair as they contested a corner.

VAR official Mike Dean decided against sanctioning Romero, and upon the resumption in play, Kane glanced substitute Ivan Perisic's corner into the net to spark another fracas as Tuchel and Conte shook hands.

Tuchel appeared to be irate that Conte refused to look him in the eye during their handshake, triggering another spat that ended with referee Anthony Taylor showing each manager the red card.

Asked whether he enjoyed the intensity of the rivalry, Tuchel said: "Yes and I think he enjoyed it as well. It was nothing bad. I don't have any bad feeling and I'm sure he will not have. We fought for our teams and it happens. It's so close here and it was such an intense match ... both dugouts are very close, so it got a bit heated from both of us.

"I just compared it to two players who had a bit of fight on the field and nothing happens. Nobody gets injured and the players, if you have a hard tackle or fair tackle, if you don't go and apologise, there's no need.

"Both of us were fighting for our teams. That was it, nobody got insulted, nobody got hurt, we didn't have a fist fight or something."

Conte said in response: "I think that what happened we did enjoy [it], but next time we will pay more attention and don't shake the hands and we solve the problem.

"He stays in my bench, I stay in my bench, with my staff on one side and no problem about this. It would be a pity if for this situation we miss the next game."

Both managers will be suspended for their next Premier League match. Tottenham host Wolves on Saturday, and Chelsea travel to Leeds United on Sunday.

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