VAR causes chaos in season opener

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VAR welcomed itself back into the A-League under a cloud of controversy once more, as fans and players almost forgot what it felt like to wait five minutes for a VAR decision.

It didn’t take long for the technology to create controversy in the A-League yet again.

Twenty minutes into Sydney FC’s 3-2 victory over Adelaide United, the match was stopped for a possible infringement after a whole minute had passed.

As the boos rang around Coopers Stadium – referee Alex King ran over to his screen and pointed to the spot for a handball that everyone in the stadium seemed to have missed.

As you’d expect Adam Le Fondre buried the subsequent penalty and scored at Coopers on the opening night once more.

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Reds boss Gertjan Verbeek questioned the decision in his post-match press conference.

“I have always been pro VAR but it is having more and more a huge impact in the game. I don’t think it’s up to the VAR when it takes five minutes to see if it’s a penalty or not – it’s crazy,” he said.

“You check the VAR, okay? But we play for almost five minutes and then there is a decision and we turn back. What happens if we scored in that five minutes.”

Al Hassan Toure’s debut A-League goal celebrations almost took a turn for the worst when VAR intervened to check his 51st-minute strike. Luckily for the Reds, there was no infringement deemed by the referees.

What followed in the match was more VAR controversy.

Sydney FC thought they had won the game in the 60th minute through Kosta Barbarouses but it was deemed to be offside after a VAR check.

The decision came back to haunt Ryan McGowan who prematurely signaled for VAR during the goal celebration.

Sky Blues coach Steve Corica unsurprisingly seemed less concerned about VAR after his side eventually left Adelaide with all three points.

“Yes, I think it is taking probably a little bit too long but they obviously want to make sure we get the right decisions. Even Kosta’s (Barbarouses) one is touch and go for me,” he said.

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“In my opinion, it’s probably the same as their goal onside. It is what it is – VAR.

“It can work in your favour and obviously not sometimes as well. I think they got the right decisions, most of the times tonight.”

One A-League game down and 144 to come with one thing guaranteed – more VAR controversy.

Feature image credit: FIFA

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Euan James
Lover of all things football. Covering Adelaide United in 2019/20 for TFS!