English Premier League Sport

Should City ‘winner’ have been ruled out?

Pep Guardiola says VAR must be ‘fixed’ after Manchester City’s late winner in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham was ruled out on review.

In the 93rd minute, Gabriel Jesus fired home what he thought was the winning goal. However, it was reviewed by VAR, with the goal eventually disallowed for a handball from Aymeric Laporte in the build-up as the game ended in a draw.

It was a controversial decision that sent shock waves around the Etihad Stadium and Man City manager Guardiola has called for improvements to how the VAR system is implemented.

He told Sky Sports: “I thought we left that situation in Tottenham in the Champions League last season. But it is the same. The referee and VAR disallow it. It’s the second time [it’s happened] – it’s tough. It’s honestly tough but it’s the way it is.

“It happened last week with Wolves and we saw for Chelsea on Wednesday – the keeper wasn’t on his line – Adrian in the penalty shoot-out. They have to fix it.

“It was incredible it wasn’t a penalty in the first half [for the foul on Rodri in the box] but VAR said it wasn’t and then at the end they did. I’m pretty sure people were happy today, we just need to work harder at scoring our chances.”

Redknapp: Right decision, but harsh
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said: “It doesn’t matter if the handball is intentional or unintentional, that’s the law now but it is such a harsh decision. What I find amazing is that not one Tottenham player complains or looks at the referee. It’s just that feeling of losing the game and there’s nothing you can do.

The question of handball

Though Laporte’s handball looked accidental, under rules introduced on June 1 by IFAB, any goal created by an accidental handball is to be disallowed. Therefore, the VAR decision was correct.

“When I think about this rule, if your arm is in an unnatural position and the ball hits it, of course that’s handball, but I just don’t think this is. There are two players trying to win the ball, they come together, and it could’ve actually hit Skipp’s hand. It’s just unfortunate for Man City and Tottenham love VAR right now. During the season you’ll get some and then you won’t.

“VAR is going to add so much to the game because it will make it fairer but that one, for me, it is an extremely harsh decision. Whether VAR got to the right one, it seems within the letter of the law then yes, but I still think it is really harsh on Man City. In the dressing room, they will all be asking how it has been disallowed.”

‘Stockley Park referees must be stronger’

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: “There was just disbelief, but we’re going to get more of that. It’s the first time I’ve seen VAR in the last minute of a game like that shocked everyone in the stadium, I know we saw it in the Champions League last season. It’s a matter of fact that if it hits the arm on a way to a goal, it will be disallowed so you could argue that it is right, there’s no doubt about that. The City fans are shocked.

“If I was the referees back in Stockley Park, I’d be happy with the fact they’ve got the disallowed goal right but the first one [Erik Lamela on Rodri for a penalty in the first half], I think the officials at Stockley Park have to be stronger. I know that they’ve said it has to be clear and obvious to overrule the on-field referee, but for me that is clear and obvious.

“They’ve got to have the nerve and the courage to say, no, that is a penalty. We’ve not quite seen that yet. It’s something I felt that day I went to Stockley Park with Jamie Carragher to get an understanding of what VAR was going to be. I felt that they weren’t keen on overruling the referee on the pitch, which is right, but they have to overrule decisions like that.”

The overturned goal decision was displayed at the Etihad after a VAR review

Poch: I’m in love with VAR

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told Sky Sports: “I am in love with VAR. I wasn’t agreeing with it from the beginning when we started talking about it, but sometimes you get the benefit like today or in the Champions League.

“We can’t stop the evolution of the technology, but it’s difficult because we love football from 30 years ago when it was only the referee’s decision. Some unfair things happened but across a season, you find a good balance.

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