Football is an emotional game so it makes it tough to hear that the referee was correct to award things against your team, especially if they’ve been very unlucky in the game.
Brighton fans will be looking at their game today and wondering who they came away without anything. They dominated the chances and hit the woodwork five times, and they even saw the final whistle go with the score at 2-2.
It was a memorable ending as the game had to be restarted for Man United to take their late penalty, while you can also argue that the game changed after an early second half penalty for Brighton was overturned.
READ MORE: Video: Astonishing scenes as Man United score a penalty after VAR review overrules the full time whistle
VAR has taken a pounding since it’s introduction and rightfully so in some cases. The biggest issue has been final decisions being made by someone who isn’t the official on the pitch, so you could see a situation where the VAR official was incredibly reluctant to overturn a colleague’s decision.
I spoke to former Premier League referee Keith Hackett today about these two major decisions and he’s comfortable that the correct outcome was reached in both cases, while he also praised the use of VAR in these situations too.
“Last season I was regularly suggesting that referees should use the pitch side monitor. From the referees position he believes that Pogba has fouled his opponent so he points to the spot and books the Frenchman”
“VAR official Simon Hooper looks at the screen determines a serious and obvious error has taken place. Kavanagh on his review sees that the forward is guilty of an act of simulation, reverses his penalty decision and issues a yellow card for simulation.”
“Now that is how VAR should operate.”
It did look like the decision to overturn the Pogba foul was the correct one at first viewing, while there’s not really been any complaints on the decision either.
The potential controversy came with the late penalty after the final whistle, but it turns out that the ref was spot on there as well:
“Kavanagh blows his whistle to bring the match to a close with the score at 2-2. VAR advises him to visit the screen to review an incident in the penalty area.”
” Kavanagh sees on the screen a clear handball offence and gives the penalty, so it’s another great use of VAR.”
If we completely isolate the two issues then you can see that the first incident is a dive and the penalty at the end of the game is a clear handball, so there can’t be any serious arguments against those decisions.
The problems all come around when we put the emotion back into things and it’s so easy to see why Brighton will feel hard done by, so it’s only natural to feel sorry for them and almost wish that a decision went a different way.
Some fans won’t like it one bit, but the referees take a pounding when things go wrong so they absolutely deserve some credit when they get it right, and today we saw a great game where VAR actually helped to ensure the correct decisions were made.