Real blast VAR for not flagging penalty in 2-0 loss

Real Sociedad custodian Geronimo Rulli colliding with Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr on Sunday. The referee neither awarded a penalty nor consulted the VAR, to Real's dismay.
Real Sociedad custodian Geronimo Rulli colliding with Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr on Sunday. The referee neither awarded a penalty nor consulted the VAR, to Real's dismay.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID • A fuming Santiago Solari questioned the point of video technology after Real Madrid were denied what the coach called "a penalty every day of the week" in a shock 2-0 Spanish LaLiga home loss to strugglers Real Sociedad on Sunday.

With Real trailing 1-0 in the second half, Vinicius Jr fell over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in the box. Referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero neither awarded a penalty nor consulted the video assistant referee (VAR).

"If  VAR is not used in a play like that, then it loses the whole point of its existence," said Solari after the hosts were booed off by 53,412 fans, the Bernabeu's second-lowest crowd this season, following a sixth defeat this season.

"We are all human and we all make mistakes. But, when you have the chance to look over the evidence again and you do not, it's difficult to understand."

The technology has been in use in Spain's top flight since the start of this season.

According to protocol, the VAR operators are only supposed to inform the referee and ask for a play to be reviewed if the official has made an "obvious mistake".

Real also thought they had a penalty in the first half when captain Sergio Ramos collided with Asier Illarramendi, but Solari said he gave the benefit of the doubt to the referee and to VAR.

Ramos called the Vinicius case "scandalous", adding: "I've always supported VAR, but this leaves you with your head in your hands."

For Solari, the honeymoon period he enjoyed in November after replacing Julen Lopetegui is well and truly over. Real are fifth on 30 points after 18 games and the loss almost certainly ended their hopes of catching LaLiga leaders Barcelona, who won 2-1 at Getafe later and are 10 points ahead.

Before kick-off, the European champions paraded the Club World Cup trophy they won for a third straight time. But the mood was punctured three minutes later when Casemiro hauled down Mikel Merino in the box, and Jose Willian smashed his kick down the middle.

Real rallied with a glut of chances but failed to find the net. Midfielder Ruben Pardo sealed the points with a late header for Sociedad's first win at Real since 2004, after the hosts' winger Lucas Vazquez was sent off for a second yellow card.

Real director Emilio Butragueno also took issue with the VAR.

"We are always very respectful towards referees and we are in favour of VAR, but we do not understand this incident," he said. "It was a critical moment."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Real blast VAR for not flagging penalty in 2-0 loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe