Analyzing the big VAR incidents in the Champions League knockouts this season
VAR is the latest innovation that the UEFA has added to its premier club competition, the Champions League. In the past, there have been decisions that have favored certain clubs, not necessarily because of a bias. We all know about Tom Henning Overbo's utterly poor performance in the Chelsea-Barca game in 2009. The Norwegian gave decisions that on the night favored Barcelona more than it did for Chelsea. Chelsea had four shouts for a penalty waved off by the ref, one of them rightly, but at least two of them should have resulted in a spot kick.
We know about Viktor Kassai who officiated Bayern Munich's return leg against Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. The red card to Arturo Vidal, clearly dubious, changed the momentum of the game followed by an offside goal by Cristiano Ronaldo. The goal, a decision which was certain to be overturned by VAR.
VAR has its limitations and it has its advantage. It causes a lot of time wasting which not all referees would adjust into the additional time and in a game, even a minute could be worth it. It also depends on the mindset of the referee, some referees would give certain decisions which won't necessarily be the same for others.
This season, after successful implementation in the FIFA World Cup and LaLiga, UEFA decided to have VAR for the knockout stages of the Champions League. In no time, the new advancement has made its impact and played a deciding role in at least two of the four ties played.
Let us look at the decisions given and see if it was right or wrong:
#3 Porto vs Roma (Penalty)
The first leg game between Porto and Roma which was played at Rome ended 2-1 in favor of the home side. However, Porto headed home with an all-important away goal. With the scoreline reading 2-1 after 90 minutes, the game headed to extra time. The VAR intervention came late into extra time in the 118th minute.
Florenzi's challenge on Fernando was reviewed by VAR and referee Cuneyt Cakir pointed straight to the spot. Telles converted from the spot thus sending Porto through to the quarter-finals.
The decision was 100%, a correct one. Maxi Pereira had zipped a ball across the face of goal just inches wide of the far post. Fernando could easily have guided the ball inside with a touch of the ball. However, Florenzi clipped his shirt and stopped him from getting that touch. Since the intervention from Florenzi had clearly denied Porto a goalscoring opportunity, a penalty was the correct decision.