Is it time to rethink VAR in the Premier League? | Football Digest
Micah Richards has bemoaned the use of VAR technology during Manchester United’s damaging 4-3 loss to FC Copenhagen in the Champions League, claiming that the “game has gone”. Erik ten Hag’s under-pressure Red Devils raced into a two-goal league thanks to a brace from forward Rasmus Hojlund against his former club but ran into trouble with half-time approaching when Marcus Rashford was controversially sent off after appearing to stamp on the ankle of Elias Jelert.
Television replays showed that the United striker appeared to be attempting to shield the ball but after the referee Donatas Rumsas was called to review the incident on the pitchside monitor he brandished a straight red card, reducing United to ten men.
A lengthy period of first half time added on allowed the hosts to immediately get back into the game, with Mohamed Elyounoussi pulling one back before the Danes were awarded a penalty in the ninth minute of injury time for a handball by Harry Maguire, which was once again reviewed by VAR.
The call against the United defender seemed harsh but resulted in the scores being level at 2-2 by the time the half-time whistle was blown.
To their credit, Ten Hag’s side coped well with their numerical disadvantage and retook the lead when another contentious VAR decision resulted in a spot-kick of their own, which captain Bruno Fernandes dually converted.
But the visitors could not hold out for the 90 minutes, as Copenhagen scored twice late on to decide a thrilling contest that was marred by VAR controversy.
The game’s flashpoints were discussed by the panel on CBS Sports with pundit Richards highly critical of the VAR decisions. Speaking about Maguire’s handball for Copenhagen’s penalty, Richards said: “How is that outside the silhouette? I mean, what do you expect him to do there? I don’t, I just don’t [know]. The game is officially gone.”
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Richards’ CBS Punditry colleague Jamie Carragher agreed and took to X to share his thoughts. He wrote: The game has gone! Get rid of VAR, that’s a disgrace.”
Speaking about Rashford’s dismissal, he added: “No way is that a red card for Rashford! Hate these slow-motion replays & still images that make everything look 10 times worse.”
United’s defeat in Copenhagen leaves them bottom of Group A on three points after four matches. Group leaders Bayern Munich have already qualified leaving the Red Devils to scrap over the remaining qualification spot with Galatasaray and Copenhagen who both have a point more than the Red Devils with two matches to play.
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