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AVB: Refs Must Protect Players Like Bale

Andre Villas-Boas says that Gareth Bale was fortunate not to have his ankle broken by a dangerous tackle, en route to scoring his blinding equaliser against Norwich last night.

Spurs were trailing 1-0 with 10 minutes to go, when Welsh international Bale stormed into the Norwich half with vicious intent, tore towards their box, and slammed an unstoppable, swerving bullet into the bottom corner.

It was yet another moment of virtuoso brilliance by Bale, who makes lighting up the Premier League a couple of time per season his habit.

But Spurs manager AVB says the English top flight will lose talents like Bale to rival leagues, unless referees offer them better protection.

The crouching Portuguese says Bale was lucky not to suffer a serious injury from Alex Tettey’s desperate attempt to stop his goalward slalom.

AVB was angry that the referee did not even bring Tettey back for a caution after the goal.

"It was a beautiful goal but he was extremely lucky to avoid Tettey's challenge, which could have broken his ankle," said Villas-Boas.

"I'm extremely disappointed he didn't get a yellow or red card. You have to protect the unpredictability, passion and emotion of the British game but you have to be aware that, if people go over the top, players like Gareth could get an injury that takes him out for six months.

“I showed the referee my disappointment. I'm extremely disappointed with that incident."

Bale has already been booked for diving four times this season, but each time he has claimed he was simply trying to avoid being injured in a foul.

AVB’s assertions seem to echo Bale’s own calls for more protection from referees.

Norwich manager Chris Hughton meanwhile, was incredulous regarding AVB’s claims that Tettey should have been sent off.

 "I'm surprised by that," he said. "There didn't seem to be much wrong with [Bale] as he went past everyone."

While he doubted the logic of AVB’s rant, Hughton could only acknowledge the simple beauty of Bale’s strike.

"Occasionally you have to hold your hands up and say that was a good goal from a top-class player," he said.

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