Football

VAR in spotlight as Man City limp to goalless draw

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) came under scrutiny during Manchester City's 0-0 home draw against Southampton on Saturday after it led to the overturning of a penalty award and red card for City defender Kyle Walker.

The Saints were awarded a spot-kick after Walker appeared to bundle into the back of Adam Armstrong. Referee Jon Moss had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and showing a red card to Walker.

But Moss was invited to review the incident on the monitor following a VAR check and decided to cancel the penalty and overturn the sending-off.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuettl seemed to question Moss' "bravery", saying: "For me, it wasn't a clear wrong decision, but I think he was not brave enough."

Meanwhile, his opposite number Pep Guardiola said: "I did not watch it, even now in the locker room. The penalty was not allowed because maybe it was no penalty."

Former England striker Gary Lineker, however, saw things differently. He tweeted: "Extraordinary turnaround by VAR. Walker gives away a penalty and gets a red card. With double jeopardy the red was an error, but to turn over the decision of a penalty is bizarre.

"You could argue whether it was a penalty, but having given it, it was definitely not a glaring error."

Former English Premier League and Fifa referee Chris Foy, however, told the Daily Mail: "This is a decision which will divide opinion depending on who you support, but I think it's the right call...

"On a second look, Armstrong was going down when the challenge took place and made contact with Walker. Any contact by either man was normal contact."

Guardiola, who had implored City fans to turn up for the game after a less than stellar turnout for their midweek 6-3 win over RB Leipzig, said he felt "guilty" after his side failed to put on "a show", having had only one shot on target.

Football