VAR was at the heart of the action in Wednesday’s Champions League clashes, overturning a red card and a penalty initially given to PSG based on a minor foul on Real Madrid’s Marcelo earlier in the play.
Thursday’s Champions League clashes saw VAR take things to the next level. Not only did VAR overturn a goal – it gifted the opposition team a penalty in the very same decision.
Watch the ridiculous incident in the video player below!
Former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku was having a brilliant game as his Inter Milan travelled to Slavia Prague, teeing up fellow striker Lautaro Martinez for the opening goal of the game in the 19th minute.
And the Belgian big forward looked to have scored a goal of his own when Inter were gifted possession in the final third in the 36th minute, with Lukaku tapping home an easy finish from close range.
Then VAR intervened in the most dramatic of fashion.
Referee Szymon Marciniak had missed a foul on Peter Olayinka in the box at the other end, a significant period of time earlier.
But because the ball hadn’t gone out, play hadn’t stopped at any point for VAR to review the potential Prague penalty.
It was only when Lukaku had put the ball in the back of the net that the review could happen – and rightly, it reversed the decision.
Tomas Soucek fired home from 12 yards to equalise. Instead of Inter up 2-0, the score read 1-1.
It’s an incident many critics of VAR have pointed to in a hypothetical sense – but it’s the first time it’s actually happened on a major stage.
Lukaku and Inter Milan were not to be denied, with thhe 26-year-old scoring his 250th career goal in the 81st minute to put Milan in front, before assisting Martinez again to seal a 3-1 win.
It wasn’t the only VAR controversy of the morning, with Liverpool outraged after VAR did not overturn Napoli’s early goal.
Dries Merten buried the opening goal of their match with a fizzer, but Liverpool wanted the video referee to overturn the decision based on a potential foul on Virgil van Dijk earlier in the play.
Van Dijk had been left sprawling on the ground in pain after a contentious aerial challenge, but despite the challenge, VAR confirmed the goal stood.
That drew instant comparisons to the soft foul on Marcelo that meant PSG had a penalty overturned against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
VAR then reviewed the Mertens goal a second time, checking whether the striker was off-side in the build-up to his clinical finish.