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8 Errors Made By Football’s VAR That Haven’t Been Forgotten

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The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was first introduced in every football league in the year 2018, and since then it has been all chaotic in the world of football. While some fans have adapted to live with the concept of VAR some remain in disbelief by the decisions this technology has given over the years. Here are some of the errors made by the VAR since its existence:

1. Brazil VS Argentina, 3rd July 2019

Brazil and Argentina, the South American giants went head-to-head against each other in the semi-finals of the Copa America in 2019. The game ended with Brazil qualifying for the finals after defeating Argentina 2 – 0. Fans still believe that Argentina was robbed by the VAR technology. In the final quarter of the game, the referee gave two horrific decisions which shocked the world of Football. The first incident involved Dani Alves who tripped Sergio Aguero in the penalty box as he saw the Manchester City striker making a run into the box to get to the end of a pass made by Messi, who seemed infuriated with the referee after the game. This error led to a goal on the other end of the pitch where Brazil managed to counter the Argentines who were still waiting for the referee to blow the whistle. The other incident occurred when Arthur blocked Nicholas Otamendi’s run during a corner kick in Brazil’s penalty box. The Juventus midfielder had all his eyes on Otamendi and made the block which was caught on camera by the VAR. The referee had a good look into it but still decided to go against it. Go figure!!!

2. Manchester City VS Tottenham, 18th April 2019


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This match and VAR decision is perhaps the most controversial of them all. Manchester City was leading the game 4 – 2 until the 73rd minute where the referee and VAR played their part. Fernando Llorente scored from close range to make the score 4 – 3 which crucially meant Spurs would go through to the next round. VAR was called into play as the ball came in contact with the French striker and brushed his hand before making its way into the net. The referee decided to have a look at it but still gave away the goal to Spurs, much to the exasperation of City fans. City who were now losing the game on away goals scored a fifth goal in the dying moments of the game only to be cancelled out by VAR, as Aguero was seen in an offside position before receiving the ball.

3. Paris Saint Germain VS Manchester United, 7th March 2019


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A matter of whether a foul was intentional or not has always been a part of footballing debates but has started playing an even more important role since VAR arrived. This incident took place in the round of 16 stage of the 18/19 Champions League campaign where Manchester United travelled to Paris to clear a 0 – 2 loss suffered at Old Trafford. Romelu Lukaku managed to overturn the two-goal deficit within the first 30 minutes of the game but a goal from Juan Bernart meant that United had to score one more goal to win the game. In the 89th minute, the Red Devils were pushing hard for the victory and that is when Diego Dalot’s shot which was going above the crossbar struck Kimpembe’s hand. The referee then decided to have a look at it and decided to award a penalty to Manchester United despite the handball being completely unintentional. Marcus Rashford stepped up for the team and scored the winner to send Manchester United to the next round of the tournament.

4. Real Madrid VS Ajax, 6th March 2019


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Madrid defeated Ajax 1 – 2 at the Johan Cruyff Arena and most assumed that it would be an easy path for the thirteen-time champions to move to the next stage. But that was not the case, as Ajax turned the game around with goals from David Neres and Hakim Ziyech in the first 20 minutes of the game, meaning that they were leading 3 – 2 on aggregate. Both the teams looked strong but when Dusan Tadic scored the third goal, things started to heat up with intensities soaring. The sideline referee called out for a possibility of the ball going out of play in the setup. After spending several minutes looking at it, the officials decided to give the goal to Ajax even though the ball appeared to have gone out of play. Nothing however could have saved Real Madrid that day as Lasse Schone’s free-kick then went into the top corner and the final score was 3 -5 to the Dutch Champion side, Ajax.

5. Mainz VS Freiburg, 17th April 2018

During the match between FC Mainz 05 and Freiburg at the Opel Arena, we witnessed one of the weirdest decisions given by the VAR. The game ended with Mainz winning the match 2 – 0, but VAR certainly had an important role in this result. Just before halftime, the ball appeared to strike Oliver Kompf’s hand inside the box. The referee then blew the halftime whistle and that is when VAR was called in to investigate the matter. The on-field referee requested the players to stay on the pitch and not go into the dressing room. After a couple of minutes, the referee then decided to have another look at it and finally gave Mainz the penalty. Pablo de Blasis then took the spot-kick and scored in the seventh minute of the first-half stoppage time. After a small celebration from the player, all players were finally allowed to head into the tunnel as the referee blew the halftime whistle for the second time!

6. Portugal VS Iran, 25th June 2018


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A must-win game for Iran in the 2018 FIFA World Cup saw VAR make its way to the headlines, unfortunately for the wrong reasons again. Ricardo Quaresma scored in the 45th minute of the game which put the Iran team under a lot of pressure. In the second half, Portugal was awarded a Penalty which was initially not given by the on-field referee. Ronaldo shockingly missed that penalty, but the job was not over for VAR. In the 90th minute of the game, the ball hit Cedric Soares on his hand inside the penalty box. On reviewing it, most of the view that Soares was trying to get his hand away from the ball but could not as it came in too fast towards him. The penalty was awarded to Iran though and Karim Ansarifard equalized for Iran in second-half stoppage time, even though it wasn’t enough for Iran in the end. To add more to the VAR misery, Cristiano Ronaldo swung his elbow at Piraligani and was only given a yellow card after a VAR check prompting Iran coach Carlos Queiroz to shed plenty of frustration on the system post-match as Portugal advanced to face Uruguay in the last 16.

7. Genoa vs Juventus, 26th August 2017


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In 2017, Juventus travelled to Genoa in a Serie A clash and VAR played a vital role in the fixture early, when Genoa was awarded a penalty in the 7th minute of the game. Striker Galabinov was tackled by Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. After checking with VAR, it was clear that the striker was coming in from an offside position before Rugani made the challenge but the referee was still told to award a penalty to Genova. Juve were 2 – 0 down in the first 7 minutes of the game but still managed to take home three points courtesy of a Dybala hattrick and a Juan Cuadrado goal.

8. Liverpool VS Manchester City, 10th November 2019


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Liverpool versus Manchester City is undoubted of the greatest rivalries in English football and of course, VAR has often been part of the fixture in recent years. In November 2019 Pep Guardiola’s men travelled to Anfield to stop Liverpool from going nine points clear at the top. The team failed to do so as the Reds went all out and defeated them 3 – 1. The highlight of this intense encounter was the Trent Alexander Arnold handball which was waved off by the VAR. Despite the ball striking the Liverpool defender’s arm, the goal stood, much to the anger of the City players and coaching staff. The ball went off Bernardo Silva and hit the Liverpool right-back’s arm and the referee did not bring the play back, making everyone debate on whether the handball was intentional or not. This error was compounded as it led to a Fabinho screamer at the other end within seconds. City fans also went onto question VAR’s decision on the Salah goal in that game and the debate on whether the Egyptian was offside when the ball was played towards him by Andrew Robertson continues almost two years on.