Another weekend of football and another case of VAR completely defeating the purpose of its existence.
Everton and Manchester United were tied 1-1 at Goodison Park late on when Jordan Pickford made a reflexive double save to keep out the visitors. The Blues broke from that in time added on, and a deep ball was teed up by Richarlison for the onrushing Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Icelander ran onto it and tried to poke it past David De Gea, who saved well from point-blank range. As the rebound fell back into the box, Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s despairing slide took out Sigurdsson leaving him in a heap in front of goal. Meanwhile Dominic Calvert-Lewin coralled the ball and fired through Harry Maguire’s legs to the far post.
The ball pinged off the defender’s foot and diverted towards the near post. The aware but prone Sigurdsson, right in the path of the ball, lifted his feet and allowed it to go past him and into the goal, with De Gea rooted to his spot on the line. Whistle blows, Everton goal at the Gwladys Street End and pandemonium.
Breaking down Everton's disallowed goal ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/PjFtHwzdGa— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) March 1, 2020
However, VAR intervened and Sigurdsson was adjudged offside, despite not interfering with De Gea’s sightlines as he was sitting on he ground. The Blues were livid, as no penalty was called despite the VAR review either. So much so that when the final whistle went Carlo Ancelotti demanded an explanation from referee Chris Kavanagh, only to be summarily sent off after the game.
Later on, Ancelotti went into the referee’s dressing room still looking for answers, but wouldn’t say what was discussed. Meanwhile, the Premier League issued a statement explaining their stance.
“In the 91st minute of Everton v Manchester United, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal was disallowed following a VAR Review for an offside offence against Gylfi Sigurdsson.
”The on-field decision was to award the goal, but the VAR advised the referee that Sigurdsson was in an offside position directly in the line of vision of David de Gea and made an obvious action that impacted de Gea’s ability to make a save.”
How the VAR referee Jon Moss thought Sigurdsson sitting on the floor near him obstructed the vision of 6’4” De Gea while the ball was over 12 yards away will remain a mystery to anyone who has eyes, but the Toffees will rightly feel aggrieved.
And never mind that the deflection off Maguire basically negated any offside because the defending side is the last to touch the ball.
As for why a penalty was not awarded for the foul on Sigurdsson by Wan-Bissaka following his shot, the Premier League said the incident had been reviewed, but since it wasn’t a “clear and obvious error” by Kavanagh, no penalty would be awarded.
That will bring to five points now stolen from the Blues by obvious VAR errors, following the penalty given to Brighton & Hove Albion earlier in the season that turned a lead into a loss.