VAR officials have admitted Danny Ings’ equaliser for Southampton against Watford should have been disallowed for handball by Moussa Djenepo in the build-up.
The Southampton winger appeared to touch the ball with his hand inside the penalty area before crossing for Ings to make it 1-1 in the 78th minute of a crucial clash between two sides struggling towards the foot of the Premier League.
Saints went on to win the game 2-1 and pile further pressure on Hornets manager Quique Sanchez Flores, whose side had gone 1-0 ahead but stay bottom of the table following their eighth defeat.
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Former A-League referee Jared Gillett, who was in the booth as VAR for the Saints’ clash with the Hornets, ran through a number of replays from different angles but did not spot the handball. He also checked if the ball went out of play and then if it hit had actually hit Ings’ hand before being poked into the net.
The officials did not want to slow down the game further, therefore play resumed, but retrospectively they have accepted the ball did touch the hand of Djenepo and the goal should not have stood.
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Sanchez Flores, who only replaced the sacked Javi Gracia in September, said he did “not want to talk too much” about it because it might “sound like excuses”, but his players were fuming at the mistake.
Will Hughes told Sky Sports: “If you look at the replays, if we’re going to have VAR in the Premier League, it doesn’t really matter how long it’s going to take, you have to get to the right decision.
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“In the rules, we know, if its intentional or unintentional handball, as an attacking player – it’s a free-kick. It’s the third time this season that it’s happened against us. When you see that after the game it’s quite deflating.
“It’s frustrating when you look back at that now. We felt comfortable. That gets disallowed, we’re 1-0 up, we might get the second and go on to win the game.”
This story originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.