Manchester United penalty: PSG star Neymar blasts VAR decision, but a FIFA World Cup referee says it was the right call
PSG superstar Neymar called the Video Assistant Referee-confirmed penalty kick during his team’s loss to Manchester United on Wednesday a disgrace. United escaped Paris within the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie to advance on away goals after finishing 3-3 on aggregate. Without Paul Pogba, United capitalized on three huge PSG errors, the last being a handball in the box by Presnel Kimpembe. VAR was used and shortly after a penalty was confirmed.
“This is a disgrace,” Neymar posted on his Instagram. “Four guys who know nothing about football watch a slow-motion replay in front of the television.
“It was nothing! What can [Kimpembe] do with his hand while his back is turned? Go f— yourselves!”
The French defender jumped to block a shot from Diogo Dalot, and with his arm away from his body, it clearly hit his arm in the box. Take a look:
Here’s a look at the entire sequence:
Now, was it a penalty or not? For me, it’s clear as day. His arm was away from his body to make himself bigger, the ball clearly hit him there inside the box. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
Expert official’s take
CBS Sports spoke to a former FIFA World Cup referee about the call. Here’s what the official said about the timing of the penalty decision:
“The idea is to do what you’ve got to do. Make the call that you have to make — be it in the first minute or the 90th. The timing shouldn’t matter. The ref has to complete his mission, which is follow the rules of the game.”
The referee added that what’s key is Kimpembe’s arm is away from his body. Had it been lined up with his body vertically, it all would have been avoided.
“Clear penalty. No doubt about it,” the official said.
It’s hard to disagree with the official’s take. The ball hits Kimpembe’s arm, which was away from his body inside the box. The fact that it came during the dying moments of a do-or-die second leg was unfortunate for PSG, and that’s what might have made it controversial to some.
And with that, United moves on and PSG’s Champions League dream ends well short once again. You can watch all of next week’s Champions League action on fuboTV (Try for free).