Wednesday 17 January 2018

'This is turning into a shambles' - Damien Duff tears into VAR after Chile goal is disallowed for offside

Jack O'Toole

Shamrock Rovers assistant and RTE football pundit Damien Duff has lamented the use of the Confederations Cup's video assistant referee (VAR) system after Chilean forward Eduardo Vargas' first-half goal against Cameroon was overturned by the VAR.

With two minutes to go before half-time, Vargas latched onto a neatly timed ball by Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal to sneak in behind the Cameroonian defence and dink the ball over goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa and into the back of the net.

The goal was initially awarded by Slovenian referee Damir Skomina before it was then overturned by video assistant referees Clément Turpin, Milovan Ristić and Malang Diedhiou, after they had ruled that Vargas was offside.

Television replays showed that Vargas was actually onside leading to further damnation for the VAR from Duff and fellow RTE pundit Dietmar Hamann.

"Even if I'm sitting up in the office, he's still onside to me," said Duff of Vargas' disallowed goal.

"It's not bulletproof. Looks onside obviously there, great goal, so I don't know what their calling there or what they're seeing up in the office.

"They say hands and arms aren't considered, it's one thing if it was his left-arm but [Adolphe] Teikeu, the left side centre-back, is keeping him onside. Standard.

"Nothing is ever going to change my opinion on that so this is turning into a bit of shambles for me. What are they seeing? It's their naked eye up in the office.

"They've got replays and for them to go and call that there; it's making me as animated and as angry as Didi was at half-time [of the Portugal game].

"This is putting me off. He's onside. It's nonsense. Ridiculous decision. Ridiculous."

Vargas' disallowed goal is the second goal in as many matches to be overturned after Pepe's opener against Mexico was disallowed after the VAR convinced referee Néstor Pitana that the Portuguese defender was offside after he hooked Cristiano Ronaldo's rebounded free-kick into the back of the net against Mexico.

Former Liverpool midfielder Hamann, who was quite outspoken in his assessment of the VAR following Pepe's disallowed goal, agreed with Duff and highlighted that there was a reason that the assistant referee had never raised his offside flag when Vargas made his initial run.

"I agree with Damien, I think he's onside," said Hamann.

"You see the linesman, he's right in line, he's in a perfect position. He can't see Vargas, hence, he's keeping the flag down. It takes a couple of minutes but I think he's made the wrong call."

Meanwhile former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr said that he would like to see some clarification as to why Vargas' goal was disallowed, but that overall, football has been longing for this sort of technological assistance to referees.

"I'd like to hear why that verdict was made," said Kerr.

"They can't provide a line across that defines the position of the centre-half, of whether he's slightly ahead of him, but it looks to that naked eye, to our eye looking at those pictures, he looks like he's level, and that makes him onside.

"If it goes wrong at this tournament it doesn't change my opinion. There has been an outcry from coaches, and people playing, and pundits, that they're not able to keep up.

"I think the referees should have the help on that but they need to be getting it right."

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