Two offside goals, and a horrendous red card decision, which ultimately ruined the game.
Just your average Champions League quarter final.
Bayern Munich became the latest side to be on the wrong end of poor decision making by the referee and linesmen and it doesn’t seem like they will be the last.
Over the years it has been difficult to keep count of wrong decisions by officials which could have easily been avoided, and consequently would have served justice in games for the correct outcome to happen.
Teams are denied lifting trophies, winning crucial matches in terms of relegation and title deciders, and have their fate decided by wrong calls which shape their future.
The difference between winning the league and coming second, between staying up and going down, between winning your first ever trophy or keeping the dry run going.
Frank Lampard, 2010 World Cup, England vs Germany. The goal or no goal as it were! Sparked the frenzy about goal line technology in football being introduced.
Goal line technology was introduced in the Premier League in the 2013/14 season, which was sorely needed. Despite this, there are still an abundance of leagues which operate without it.
Ghost goals and goal line clearances are often the cause of why it is so hard to decide if the ball has officially crossed the line, which is why this was deeply needed.
But as the poor calls which go on to ruin games continues, so does the crying out for video assistant referees to be brought into the beautiful game.
The idea behind video assistant referees (VAR) is based on the principle of the referee being able to consult another figure, who watches back the replay of the clip in contention and can then report back to the ref with what the correct outcome should be.
In all the other major sports in the world such as Rugby, Tennis, Cricket, and Baseball, there are systems of this nature which are used to go back and review decisions which are uncertain or need a final check.
But why is football still trailing behind in this sense?!
Capital One Cup final 2017, Southampton were one goal to the good, thanks to a timed finish from Italian striker, Manolo Gabbiadini.
However, the goal was ruled out for offside, wrongly. Shortly after this, Manchester United went up the pitch and gained a 2-0 lead.
Where is the fairness in this?
A completely different game would have taken place if Southampton had rightly been given their lead in the match. They did show terrific team spirit to knot things up at 2-2; however a late winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic condemned the Saints to defeat.
A trophy which they argue could have been theirs if the right decisions were made.
This is just one example of teams being failed by bad calls on the pitch.
The major problem lies with offside calls. Many throw forward the case that it is almost impossible for linesmen to dictate offside decisions correctly at all times due to the speed at which the game is played.
But, this is no excuse for teams to have games they should have won taken away from their grasp.
Another flaw to this argument is that in a lot of circumstances, the forward is more often than not, yards offside; not marginally. This makes it harder to support the actions of those officiating.
They should be in a position where they can make correct calls at all times. Of course it is tough, but they are paid to work in this challenging environment.
Linesmen must either step down if they cannot handle the pressure that officiating brings, or a system such as VAR needs to be installed; otherwise there is no end to this.
It is time for officials to stop blaming the speed at which the game is played at and have a governing body introduce a system which is evidently accessible to implement and will help with so many match defining moments.
By doing this, there would no complaints from any party – the linesmen would have something they can refer to if unsure, instead of second guessing and hoping for the best, and forwards who are adamant they were onside would be shown clear cut evidence as to whether they are true or false, which would also kill off bickering players contesting decisions.
The video replay system was tested out recently in a friendly match between Spain and France. In the game, it was used to great effect when Antoine Griezmann headed home from a Layvin Kurzawa assist to give France a 1-0 lead.
But after consulting with the video assistant, referee Felix Zwayer waved the goal offside due to replays showing Kurzawa had drifted behind the Spain defence ahead of his cross for the disallowed goal.
Following this, with Spain up 1-0 in the 77th minute, Gerard Deulofeu added a second off a low Jordi Alba cross. The goal was initially flagged by the linesman for offside but, following a brief review, the Milan attacker’s strike was correctly given.
This is crucial evidence which proves it can work in the game.
On Tuesday night, Bayern Munich were in a good position to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League, having tied things up on aggregate.
However, with moments remaining in the 90 minutes Arturo Vidal was brandished a second yellow card and was sent off. Bayern were then forced to play extra time with a man down.
This was the turning point in the match.
His tackle was a perfectly timed challenge and was not even a foul in the first place, not to mention his first yellow not being worthy of a card either. The decision to send him off is something the ref knows will shape how the encounter ends.
Where is the harm in reviewing the decision with video replays so that the game ends how it should and teams are not left to suffer?
This was compounded by two offside goals by Cristiano Ronaldo. In a game of this magnitude there is no room for poor decisions and assumption making.
We need replays.
It appears many football fans are in favour of this taking place and being brought in.
But there are others who believe it will remove the “controversy” around the game, having “something to talk about at the pub”, as to whether a right call was made or not is what many argue is the thing that makes football so beautiful ; the fact that we all have differing views on decisions and whether they were right or wrong.
If that person down the pub watched his side lose a cup final due to their last minute winner being incorrectly ruled out, I’m not sure how hard to swallow this would be?
Would it just make good conversation for the next day?
Something needs to be done now. This can’t go on.
The Bayern- Madrid game was the tipping point; it is no longer a case of “oh well! They will get it right next time “.
What if that losing side doesn’t make it to that cup final ever again, or if the team that lost a title decider due to poor officiating doesn’t ever make it to the summit again?
By Tom Cavilla.