‘VAR has gone out of control’ – Man Utd lose again on chaotic night in Copenhagen

On a chaotic night in Copenhagen there were seven goals, two penalties, a “game-changing” red card, a protester on the pitch and a late winner by a 17-year-old substitute – but once more we are left talking about VAR.

In a week that has seen video technology in the headlines because of its use in Monday’s madness at Tottenham, it came to the fore to make key decisions in Denmark as Manchester United slipped to a damaging Champions League defeat.

United manager Erik ten Hag felt its use to dismiss Marcus Rashford for planting his foot on the ankle of Elias Jelert “changed the game”. At the time, the visitors led 2-0. “In real time it’s just not a red,” former United midfielder Paul Scholes told TNT Sports.

Referee Donatas Rumsas would be called to the pitchside monitor twice more in the game, to award a penalty to each side for handball – both described as “soft” by Scholes’ ex-United team-mate and colleague in the TNT studio, Owen Hargreaves.

With United smarting from another chastening defeat which leaves them facing a huge task to qualify for the last 16, BBC Sport picks through the chaos and controversies in the Danish capital.

United see red

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly for United after arguably their most accomplished 25 minutes of the season at the start of Wednesday’s game.

Rasmus Hojlund’s two close-range finishes in a period of purpose and precision had the visitors in complete control.

Then, with 42 minutes on the clock, the referee was alerted to Rashford’s indiscretion – the planting of his foot on Jelert’s ankle in what appeared to be a mistimed attempt to shield the ball. A review and red card followed.

“I think first we played very good until the red card. The red card changed everything. Then it becomes a different game,” said Ten Hag.

“It is a harsh decision – he was going for the ball. The review was over, then he went up to the screen. I think the referee was not sure.”

Pundit Hargreaves was more forthright when asked if it was a red.

“Not in a million years,” he said. “Marcus is just trying to put his leg out to protect the ball.

“When you see a still [picture] it looks horrendous, but in real time he’s not trying to foul him. It’s not malicious, it’s just a foul, it’s just clumsy.

“They have to stop re-refereeing these games like that because it’s ruining it. That’s where the game changed.”

Scholes added: “It’s understanding what Rashford is trying to do. He’s accidentally stood on his leg. He’s thinking he’s planting his leg down and protecting the ball. It’s not a nasty challenge and totally accidental. “This is where the referee’s understanding of the game has to come into question.” – Source; BBC


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