Manchester City and Tottenham played out one of the best Champions League games we have ever seen last night and amongst all the drama, goals and tension there was another star on the night. VAR rose to the occasion and provided its own share of drama which culminated in Manchester City’s fifth goal being ruled out for offside.
The referee, Cuneyt Cakir, relied on the Video Assistant referee twice last night for two huge decisions late on and both times it made the correct call in the biggest of scenarios. Fernando Llorente scored Spurs’ vital third goal which appeared to graze his arm on the way in, it was originally given by the referee before being checked on the VAR monitor and the decision stood.
That was the correct decision but still, the Tottenham fans found themselves waiting to cheer the referee's decision, which took away from the elation of the initial goal. Things got even more dramatic late on as the hosts pushed for a winner.
Sergio Aguero played in Raheem Sterling who struck the ‘winner’ and the crowd, players, and staff all went wild. It truly was delirium at the Etihad as City looked to have booked their place in the final four in the most dramatic of circumstances, but hold on a second.
VAR intervened and City’s celebrations quickly turned to despair as the referee ruled the goal out for offside.
This is the problem with VAR.
It may give the correct decision most of the time which of course is important in these huge games, but, we are losing a huge amount of explosive passion and elation from the game with every decision.
Fans can no longer celebrate a goal with the ecstasy and freedom they used to, just in case the goal is ruled out for something that was not spotted with the naked eye. That feeling of elation when you see your team hit the back of the net in the last minute is the reason we all go to football in the first place and now, slowly but surely, that feeling is being taken away.
The imperfections in the game are part of what makes the game perfect. VAR just takes away from the emotion and passion of football and spoils the best moments of our game. You can keep your perfect decisions. Fans want to be able to celebrate goals freely. Give me refereeing mistakes and crazy celebrations over this sanitised, plain version of football.
Don't celebrate any goal. Wait 2 mins just to confirm that is is a goal then politely cheer.
Killing the game in every way.
I saw it in Rugby. They'll take it back to look at stuff they wouldn't usually do if a goal wasn't scored.
It's imperfect. Refs are imperfect.