Tottenham's clash with Chelsea took a strange turn on Sunday afternoon as Hakim Ziyech saw his red card rescinded before half-time. The Moroccan was caught up in a skirmish with Spurs star Emerson Royal, leaving referee Stuart Attwell with a tough decision that was handled in curious fashion.
Anger initially boiled over when Ziyech went into a stern challenge on Richarlison before standing over the top of the Brazilian. The Spurs forward quickly rose to his feet and confronted his Chelsea counterpart, with other Players rushing onto the scene.
Emerson was among them and he shoved Ziyech from behind, prompting an angry reaction from the 29-year-old. The Chelsea man pushed him in response, initially making contact with Emerson's shoulder and grazing his face, which left the officials in a tough predicament.
After a lengthy stoppage, Ziyech was first shown a straight-red card by Attwell, leaving under-pressure Chelsea boss Graham Potter forlorn on the touchline.
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In a curious turn of events, and with Ziyech already trudging off the pitch, the referee then went to review the incident on a pitchside monitor and quickly backtracked, reducing the punishment to a yellow card.
The long, drawn-out process characterised a bizarre end to the first period at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which had yielded opportunities for both sides. Spurs struck the post through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the lively Raheem Sterling forced Fraser Forster into a save, but fans didn't have to wait long for a breakthrough in the second period.
"I've spoken to them and it's the same as it's always been," he told reporters. "There has always been support. I've been under pressure here for four months from you guys.
"Have you spoken to the owners? Do you have their support? That continues and they've been great, brilliant. They also see where we're at but at the same time are frustrated because the results are what they are and we have to do better."