Manchester United’s recent Premier League defeat against Tottenham Hotspur was marred by a contentious VAR decision favouring Ange Postecoglou’s men. Spurs sealed a 2-0 victory against Erik ten Hag’s squad, with Pape Matar Sarr netting his inaugural goal for the team and a rather unlucky own goal from Lisandro Martinez.
Tottenham had their share of fortune in the first-half, with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, and Casemiro squandering prime chances.
Yet, the outcome might have swung differently had Manchester United’s appeal been upheld. During the opening half, a strike by Alejandro Garnacho was inadvertently deflected off target by Cristian Romero’s hand. Replays clearly indicated the ball meeting Romero’s hand within the penalty zone, yet VAR chose not to challenge referee Michael Oliver’s call.
This judgement has since faced considerable flak. However, ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher staunchly believes that VAR’s decision to deny United a penalty was spot-on. When quizzed about a potential apology from the PGMOL to the Red Devils over the incident, Gallagher remarked:
“I would say 100% no because my feeling is that he was so close [to Garnacho when the shot was taken].
“We talked last week about handball and I think it’s very, very difficult. The more you drill down into it to get it right, the more it causes problems and one of the problems there is that the arm’s out, is it an expected position? Is it about the shoulder? You can ask all of them questions. Has the ball come at him too fast? That’s what they’ve felt is too close and that was the decision.”
Dermot Gallagher’s insight will not go down well with Erik ten Hag, who fumed at VAR after his side’s defeat. “We deserved a penalty,” he told Sky Sports. “I don’t know why (it wasn’t given). It’s a penalty.