Premier League: How has the season unfolded?
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VAR suffered another Premier League shocker when Kevin Friend allowed the decision to rule Mbaye Diagne’s header out for offside to stand. Diagne had started up front for West Brom as they welcomed Southampton to the Hawthorns in their battle to avoid relegation.
Just four minutes in, Diagne thought he had given the Baggies a major boost in their survival bid by opening the scoring.
After Southampton had cleared the ball to the edge of the box after Matt Phillips’ fierce strike, Darnell Furlong fired a half-volley into the ground and towards goal.
Lurking just inside the six-yard box was Diagne, who guided the ball past Saints keeper Fraser Forster for this third goal of the season.
The Baggies’ celebrations were short-lived though, with the assistant referee on the far side putting his flag up for offside.
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Replays though appeared to suggest that Diagne was in fact onside, having been played on by Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard and that it was Kyle Bartley who was in an offside decision.
Sky Sports commentator Don Goodman was adamant that the offside decision would be overturned once it had been checked by VAR Friend.
“Kyle Bartley is clearly offside but the one with Diagne is a little bit tighter,” he said on Sky Sports when viewing a replay of the incident.
“It’s Vestergaard who is the deeper player. I think one or two lines may have to be drawn here. I think he’s onside, I think he’s onside you know.
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“Because of that back leg by Janick Vestigard. You can see why the assistant referee has stuck his flag up.”
Despite Goodman appearing to be correct though, with Diagne seemingly being played onside by Vestergaard, Friend decided that the assistant had been correct to put his flag up.
It was a heavily controversial decision, with the lines of the VAR appearing to show that it was a perfectly legitimate goal.
And to clear up the confusion over why the decision to rule the goal out had stood, the VAR match centre released a statement to the Sky Sports commentary team, read out by Bill Leslie.
“We are being told that because of the positioning of the camera that they couldn’t draw a definitive line through the body of Diagne so it stays with the on-field decision, which was an initial offside,” he said on commentary.
The decisioninfuriated many, including former QPR player Jamie Mackie, who was covering the game for Sky Sports News.
“We’ve seen it five or six times and it’s a goal. It [VAR] has failed. They’re going to feel extremely aggrieved and let down,” he said.
Thankfully for West Brom, the decision did not come back to haunt them, with Matheus Periera and Matt Phillips scoring before half-time.
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