Darren Cleary
Darren Cleary

13.13 7 Mar 2019


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Darren Cleary feels for PSG after a harsh handball call cost them everything

"We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions."

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, Dublin, Monday 3rd December 2018

VAR is a tool designed to help referees, the whole point is to use instant hindsight to reach the correct conclusion.

How can a fail-safe get it so spectacularly arseways? In the euphoria of Manchester United’s incredible Champions League victory nobody seemed too perturbed by the dubious penalty that enabled them to advance.

PSG are hard to warm too, I get that. Neymar is a spoiled brat who if he’s not injured, is probably diving.

The club are propped up by the billions of the Qatar Sports Investment group, seeing them vanquished by a plucky Manchester United side shorn of 10 players should be cause for celebration.

But it is impossible to escape the fact that PSG were let down badly by the wrong call, made by the very official who was meant to prevent the wrong call from happening.

Marcus Rashford's spot-kick, in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, secured an impressive 3-1 away victory for United that meant they progressed on away goals.

Neymar took to Instagram to rage about the penalty call.

The 27-year-old missed both legs through injury or to celebrate his sister’s birthday if you’re partial to wild internet conspiracy theories.

"This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR.

"There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back! Go F*** yourselves!"

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel reaffirmed his support for VAR despite it wrongly denying them a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League: “I am a big supporter of VAR, and I remain a big supporter of VAR.

“When Dalot took a shot, I saw the ball flying straight from his foot and it goes way over the bar.

“I was surprised to see it was a corner because I hadn't seen that, then he goes to the VAR, so I knew he was going to give it because he had evidence.”

PSG were not the only team cursing their luck, Roma also felt robbed last night.

The Serie A side lost 3-1 after extra time in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

The crucial goal came in the 117th minute, when Alex Telles scored from the penalty spot after Alessandro Florenzi was judged to have pulled Fernando's shirt following a VAR review.

Porto advanced after some help from an extra time VAR penalty

They can have no complaints with the shirt pull, a decent ref wouldn’t need a man with a portable TV to spot that foul.

They rage came when Patrik Schick was clearly tripped by Moussa Marega in the Porto box only for referee Cuneyt Cakir to decline to check the VAR monitor.

Their president James Pallotta claimed his side were "robbed" by VAR in their Champions League defeat to Porto: “Last year we asked for VAR in the Champions League because we got screwed in the semi-final and tonight, they’ve got VAR and we still get robbed.

“Patrik Schick was clearly clipped in the box, VAR shows it, and nothing is given. I’m tired of this crap. I give up.”

Few are interested in shedding tears for the French side, but they were cruelly denied a place in the next round by a nonsensically harsh penalty call.

VAR is supposed to reduce incorrect decisions, on Wednesday night it failed. PSG and Roma lost but VAR is the real loser.


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