Rennes boss Stephan baffled by handball decision in Champions League loss at Chelsea

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Dalbert Chelsea Rennes
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The Blues were awarded a penalty and Dalbert was given a second yellow card in an incident that crippled the Ligue 1 side's chances

Rennes head coach Julian Stephan has expressed his bewilderment over a controversial handball decision against his side in Wednesday's defeat at Chelsea.

The Blues were already ahead 1-0 in their Champions League Group E match after Timo Werner had converted from the spot. Chelsea's first penalty was clear-cut but their second, awarded four minutes before half-time, was far more controversial. 

Tammy Abraham’s shot deflected off Dalbert's arm, with the Rennes defender appearing to know little about it. After not giving the penalty initially, referee Felix Zwayer awarded the spot-kick following a VAR check.

Dalbert was also sent off for a second yellow card and after Werner converted a second penalty, Chelsea were on their way to an easy 3-0 win.

Speaking after the match, Stephan said that according to his understanding of the rules, the second penalty should not have been awarded.

"Unless the rule has changed and we weren't aware I don't know why he decided to give handball for this,” Stephan said. “When you give a second yellow for this kind of thing it kills the game. So there's misunderstanding in actual fact.

“Why do we check that and not the handball from [Kurt] Zouma? There's some misunderstanding but I don't want to go into conspiracy-theory thinking.

“It was a turning point in the game, it makes it difficult against a team like Chelsea who have good players in every position, with the numerical disadvantage.

“My players were remarkable in the last 20 minutes to put pressure and try to score a goal. I'm disappointed for them that it went the way it did.”

Speaking on BT Sport, former Premier League referee Peter Walton said that though he felt the call was harsh, he believed that Zwayer made the right decision based on the rules in European competition.

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“First of all, the penalty does seem harsh, but the interpretation of the UEFA rule - like we’ve seen in previous matches - if it strikes the arm, it’s going to be given as a penalty kick," Walton said.

"Personally, I don’t think it was, however, that’s interpretation. As regards to a second yellow card, because he’s deemed to be stopping a promising attack in terms of the handball offence, because he deemed it to be an offence, then it’s a yellow card.

"He’s gone off, and he can count himself unlucky, but that’s the law.”

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