A virtual assistant referee makes mistakes in crucial match

Last night we saw what many would call a rare occurrence in the Serie A, a match with six goals. Truly it was a magnificent match between Fiorentina and Inter which finished in a draw 3-3. Sadly after the match controversy broke out because it became apparent that the penalty from which Fiorentina scored in the 101th minute was not given correctly. 

Inter manager Luciano Spaletti was furious at the post-match conference where he publicly bashed the referee for a missed call in his opinion. His counterpart in Simone Pioli was a bit more reserved saying that his team deserved the point but that penalty was probably at best „questionable“, and indeed it was. In the 96th minute Fiorentina players surrounded the referee asking for a penalty after an apparent D’Ambrosio handball. The referee had a short consultation with his assistant after which he pointed towards the sidelines to look at video evidence.

It took an unusual amount of time to decide whether it was a penalty but ultimately he ruled it a penalty and Fiorentina went on to score. Videos surfacing online after the game showed that it wasn’t a handball. Admittedly the angle that the referee had wasn’t great but at the same time, looking at it from several different angles just proves it wasn’t a handball and therefore wasn’t a penalty. So Inter fans have the right to be furious because it was the 3rd VAR intervention in that match and it was a mistake by the referee. 

Sadly it proved a crucial one which cost Inter 2 points they desperately needed. It’s clear now that despite all the best efforts referee mistakes always were and probably always will be part of football. It’s just tragic when they prove to be crucial.