VAR involved as Ole’s United march on

Greg Henderson, 07 March 2019

A controversial VAR decision has once again decided a major football game.

PSG failed to take advantage of a lead in the Champions League first leg knockout rounds, and their monopolisation of Ligue 1 has once again meant that they have underestimated their opposition from overseas.

In a night that should have been plain sailing for PSG after two away goals at Old Trafford, PSG looked sluggish and complacent as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Manchester United moved on to yet another consecutive away win and became the first team to advance in the competition after losing 0-2 at home in the first leg.

From the start, United looked most likely to score on the counter attack but throughout the first half they saw little of the ball, with only 20% possession in the first 20 minutes. Romelu Lukaku had given them a very early lifeline but it was followed by a quick response from PSG through Juan Bernat.

PSG had not conceded two goals in the first 30 minutes of a Champions League match since 1997 and this was only the start of their troubles.

Even at 1-1, PSG spent large portions of the match around the United penalty area but it never seemed to materialise.

After the second United goal through Lukaku, the game looked like tipping either way. United’s second string team played their hearts out and stuck together as a unit, managing to subdue a team with immense attacking power.

Another controversial VAR decision

VAR was brought in for the knockout rounds of the Champions League and has now given teams hope of one last roll of the dice.

There is immense pressure on a referee who potentially has to make a game-changing decision in the dying seconds of a crucial match. A shot from Dalot had struck Kimpembe from close range before going out for a corner as United chased another goal. This looked harmless to the naked eye but the referee had been given information in his ear that he may need to take a look for himself.

The video evidence showed that the ball was handled, but was it deliberate? The referee thought it was a clear and obvious handball despite Kimpembe having his back turned from the shot.

It was later completely dismissed by all three pundits on the BT Sport panel as nonsense. However according to the channel’s ex-professional referee, that based on the rule book, the referee had to give the penalty.

Rashford kept a cool head and slotted away the penalty. A joyous occasion for United, heartbreaker for PSG. Their primary goal for the season had once again slipped away.

Kylian Mbappe has won fans all over the world yet couldn’t have had a quieter night. Boss Thomas Tuchel waited until the absolute death to bring on their all-time highest goal scorer, Edinson Cavani. Too little, too late.

United deserved the game from the off. Solksjaer’s team were relentless.

The competition now wide open

As for PSG, they have to wait another year to be crowned as European champions. Neymar had to watch on as his team crashed out of the competition once again. With the rumour mill in full flow, PSG may even have to attempt to win the competition next year without his services.

This year’s competition is now wide open after Real Madrid, PSG and Roma were all knocked out in quick succession. With players back from injury in the next round and the current form they are in, United will fancy their chances.

Greg is a lifelong Blackburn Rovers fan, even though the toughest times are bordering on ridiculous. After marrying into a French family, he had to learn fast the ways of Ligue 1. Constantly trying to convince everyone that there are 5 big European leagues, not 4.

By |2019-03-07T19:20:09+00:00March 7th, 2019|

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