|Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP) checking an incident with VAR.|
Referees will make always mistakes because they are human. That's clear and we have to accept this fact. However, what happened in Champions League on MD4, in particular in two games, is for sure the last and definitive argument in favor of technology introduction in this very important competition. We can analyze the situations involving two referees in different games: Viktor Kassai in Manchester City - Shakhtar Donetsk and Cüneyt Çakır in CSKA Moscow - Roma. In both situations we have clear, obvious and objective mistakes. So, the correction of such mistakes would be more than welcomed by the referees themselves.
Viktor Kassai in Manchester City - Shakhtar Donetsk has whistled this penalty to home-team (thank to our reader Jackson for the video):
No contact at all between the attacker, who can be guilty of simulation, and the defender. This penalty is very difficult to accept at this level. We don't know whether there was a cooperation with AAR1, but for sure this is not relevant in this case. Such final decision was taken and home side scored a goal. This game ended 6-0 and maybe this decision was not so much influencing, but you can easily imagine that a similar thing could have happened with a different score, and this call would have been, in that case, decisive for the outcome of the encounter.
The second incident is very particular regarding the kind of cooperation required to referee and assistant referee: the decisive goal scored by Roma in Moscow is clearly offside. This was definitely not easy to spot live for the Turkish crew.
As you can see in the video, on the original pass, the player who then will score looks to be in an extremely tight offside, only by leg. Something quite difficult to see for AR. In this scenario, the decision to play on by could be supportable. Not the same when a replay discovers that a touch by another player from the same team has occurred. So, the player scoring the goal, after this touch, must be considered in a quite clear offside position. You can see the referee following closely the action, without any idea that such scenario has happened. At the same time, one can't blame so much the assistant referee, because the touch of attacker, very difficult to spot, happened on the other side than his point of view (the body of attacker covered the touch to AR's view). So, he had just to make an intuition. Almost impossible, given also, and that's very recurrent, the speed of the action. It is almost impossible for all officials to realize that a small touch can change a decision. This is only VAR stuff, but at the same time something objective without any doubt. With this goal, the team won the game by gaining three very important points. Almost decisive for qualification to next phase.
So, trying to draw conclusions, if in the first case we can for sure state that referee could have managed better the incident (but the mistake remains), in the second situation it is not a mistake to say that officials have not big responsibilities The only solution is therefore VAR. Referees and assistant referees will have a very helpful technology at their side and such mistakes will be avoided.
Some rumors report that UEFA is trying to accelerate the process of introduction, and maybe we will have VAR in UEFA Champions League games starting from the KO stage of this edition (February 2019). This would be more than welcomed and would solve (hopefully) everything.