VAR stole the headlines in Liverpool’s Champions League defeat to Napoli on Tuesday. Andy Robertson conceded a controversial penalty late on for a foul on Jose Callejon, with VAR refusing to overrule the referee’s original decision. The Reds then fell to a 2-0 defeat in Naples, with Fernando Llorente’s late goal sealing the win for the Serie A side. So, we have decided to take a look back at VAR’s most controversial moments in football so far…
West Ham v Manchester City - Premier League
Manchester City beat West Ham 5-0 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. Sterling scored a hat-trick, but could have had an assist had Gabriel Jesus’ goal not been ruled out for offside by VAR. The goal was chalked off after it was shown that a tiny part of Sterling’s shoulder was offside in the build-up. The correct decision, by the laws of the game, but a frustrating one all the same.
Portugal v Iran - World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo was at the centre of the controversy with VAR at the 2018 World Cup match between Portugal and Iran. The Portuguese forward appeared to elbow an Iran player in the face, only for VAR to review the incident and suggest a yellow card as his punishment, with many feeling as though he should have seen red.
Manchester City v Tottenham - Champions League
Tottenham knocked Manchester City out of the Champions League semi-finals last season, thanks to VAR ruling out a goal from Sergio Aguero in stoppage time at the end of the second leg. Spurs went through on away goals, after Aguero’s strike was taken away because he was marginally offside in the build-up.
Leicester v Wolves - Premier League
Wolves fans were raging as Leander Dendoncker’s strike against Leicester was ruled out by VAR. The Belgian swept the ball into the back of the net from close range, only for VAR to spot the ball making contact with Willy Boly’s arm seconds earlier. The game finished 0-0, with VAR the biggest talking point at full-time.
Scotland v Argentina - Women's World Cup
VAR was once again in the firing line as it forced a penalty to be retaken in a match between Scotland and Argentina. The score was 3-2 in stoppage time, with Scotland’s goalkeeper saving a spot-kick – only for VAR to notice that she was just standing off her line as the penalty was taken, with Argentina scoring at the second attempt. After this controversy, the Premier League opted against enforcing the rule with VAR in their version of the technology.
PSG v Manchester United - Champions League
Manchester United were handed a controversial penalty by VAR in their Champions League match with PSG last season. Despite PSG’s protestations that it was a case of ball-to-hand, United were given the penalty for handball against Presnel Kimpembe and went on to knock the French side out of the competition.
Brazil v Costa Rica - World Cup
Neymar initially thought that he had won a penalty for his country against Costa Rica in the World Cup last summer, only for VAR to reveal that it was not a foul. The forward was deemed to have gone down too easily, despite continued frustration from him and his teammates after the game.
Cameroon v England - Women's World Cup
Cameroon’s players were furious during their clash with England at the World Cup as a number of decisions went against them during the game. Cameroon constantly challenged the VAR calls by the referee and, oddly, all stayed on the pitch at half-time as they appeared to be making a scene over decisions not going their way.
Manchester City v Tottenham - Premier League
Manchester City suffered VAR heartbreak against Tottenham again earlier this season. Gabriel Jesus thought he won it late on, however, a handball by Aymeric Laporte was picked up by VAR and ruled the dramatic winner out, allowing Tottenham to leave the Etihad with a 2-2 draw.