Wales faced Ukraine in a play-off match to secure a place in the World Cup finals in the winter.
Wales won the game by a single goal after Andriy Yarmolenko guided a header into his own goal during the first half. Despite a second-half onslaught, Ukraine failed to score an equaliser, and Wales will be placed in England’s group for the Qatar World Cup.
The game wasn’t without controversy, however, with Yarmolenko being denied a penalty in the first half. VAR checked the incident but didn’t see the alleged foul as a clear and obvious error from the referee.
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey, speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, has given his view on the incident, and he believes Wales got a little lucky.
“I think it’s a penalty, I do. I think it’s a clear penalty. Joe Allen’s not seen him coming from behind and catches Yarmolenko,” said Halsey.
Looking at the replay, it’s clear to see Joe Allen clips Yarmolenko as he goes to clear the ball, but it may have been difficult for the referee to make that judgement in real-time.
“I suppose it’s difficult in real-time for the referee but in my opinion, I think it’s a clear and obvious error and I don’t understand why VAR didn’t get involved and recommend a review,” added Halsey.
As we so often see, referees sometimes find it difficult to notice an incident when it happens, which is completely understandable as they’re only human. However, VAR is in place to assist the referee in these situations, and it’s difficult to understand why a review wasn’t recommended.
Ukraine could feel hard done by, as an equaliser just before half-time could have possibly changed the course of the game, giving them the momentum necessary to go on and secure the win.