…Technology is decisive, rectifies errors and changes outcomes
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology showed up in a decisive way last weekend. In Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, VAR was used to rectify errors, come to the rescue of referees and, in a way, change the outcome of the three state championships where it was used.
In the Minas Gerais State Championship (Campeonato Mineiro), Cruzeiro was benefited by the technology, which did not allow an illegitimate goal scored by América-MG to be validated. One day later, Atlético-MG’s clash against Boa Esporte was stopped three times.
In Rio de Janeiro, right in the first 15 minutes of play between Flamengo and Fluminense, the referee checked video footage twice. The Vasco vs. Bangu match also saw VAR come into play. In the São Paulo State Championship (Paulistão), both Palmeiras and São Paulo plays were reviewed by VAR technology.
Campeonato Carioca (Rio de Janeiro State Championship)
Flamengo vs. Fluminense (Saturday)
Right at the 8-minute mark of play, defensive midfielder Willian Arão opened the scoring at Maracanã Stadium after a successful header. Nevertheless, after looking at video footage, the referee saw a foul by defender Léo Duarte on goalkeeper Rodolfo right before the midfielder headed the ball into the net at Maracanã.
Nearly one minute later, the referee stopped play again to examine a potential foul committed by Gilberto, who was only awarded a yellow card and remained on the pitch to later make it 1-0 for Fluminense.
The goal forced Flamengo to play more offensively in search of the draw, in order to secure their place at the finals – Gabigol scored the equaliser in the second half and ensured the result needed to put the red-and-black jersey team of Flamengo in the final match.
Vasco vs. Bangu (Sunday)
Vasco da Gama benefited from use of Video Assistant Referee. Already entering the pitch with the edge of advancing with a draw due to a better campaign over Bangu, the squad was awarded a penalty kick by the referee, who failed to see a player being pulled by his shirt inside the penalty box.
After looking at video footage and validating the offence, Bruno César took a successful penalty kick, opened the score and set Vasco in their path to secure their spot at the finals (coach Alberto Valentim’s team won 2-1).
Campeonato Mineiro (Minas Gerais State Championship)
Cruzeiro vs. América-MG (Saturday)
Léo (left) opens the scoring shortly after the referee disallowed a goal scored by América-MG. Photo Credit: Thomás Santos/Agif
Cruzeiro sailed smoothly into the ‘Mineiro’ finals thanks, largely, to VAR. The referee disallowed a goal scored by Felipe Azevedo still in the first half of play, after nearly 5 minutes’ talking and discussions. The América-MG player himself praised VAR and admitted to the foul awarded after use of the technology. Nearly one minute later, coach Mano Menezes’ team opened the scoring thanks to an effort by Léo and secured their place at the finals.
At that stage, América-MG’s goal totally changed the shape of the match. The defender’s swift response lead to an uneventful match that would have otherwise gained undertones of drama thanks to América’s illegitimate goal, who lost 3-2 in the first leg and needed a win to advance in the competition.
Atlético-MG vs. Boa Esporte (Sunday)
Luan “mocked” VAR: the referee only awarded the second goal scored after checking the video monitor. Photo Credit: Marcelo Alvarenga/Agif
Nevertheless, no one used VAR as much as referee Anderson Daronco in yesterday’s (07 April) match at Mineirão Stadium. The referee proceeded to the VAR booth three times during the match, all of them concerning attacking plays by Atlético-MG. Shortly after match kick-off, Luan’s goal was disallowed due to his offside position. Shortly thereafter, a play by the same 27 jersey-number player was again being examined by the technology.
However, after looking at footage for minutes, Daronco and the refereeing team validated Luan’s “second” goal, finding that the ball had not been deflected by player Ricardo Oliveira, which would consequently put Luan in offside position. VAR was also used to validate Vinicius’ goal, which wrapped up the final 5-0 score.
Campeonato Paulista (São Paulo State Championship)
Palmeiras vs. São Paulo (Sunday)
São Paulo defeated Palmeiras following a penalty shoot-out at Palmeiras’ home Allianz Parque grounds and guaranteed their place at the São Paulo State Championship finals after two successful VAR reviews. At first, coach Cuca’s side were not pleased to see Liziero’s offside position confirmed, since the player had beaten goalkeeper Fernando Prass and opened the scoring.
Moreover, São Paulo’s patience was put to the test again with an even greater challenge at 32 minutes in the second half. Following a play by Diogo Barbosa, Deyverson controlled the ball inside the penalty box and scored Palmeiras’ first goal in the match. The player bearing jersey number 16 celebrated and the stadium roared in joy, much to the disappointment of São Paulo fans watching the match at home on their TVs.
Nevertheless, minutes later, VAR halted celebrations for the goal that was then pushing Palmeiras into the finals. The technology verified that the Palmeiras player was in offside position, thereby leading the referee to disallow the goal. The score remained 0-0 and São Paulo guaranteed their place at the finals after beating their rivals in a penalty shoot-out.