Manchester United’s sensational win at the Parc des Princes was undoubtedly one of the greatest European nights in their history, but it wasn’t without controversy. The awarding of a penalty to the Red Devils in the 90th minute was crucial to their progress – but should it have been given?
Love a last minute goal ey boss 😉 #OlesAtTheWheel pic.twitter.com/YA52JbIoCt
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) March 6, 2019
Examining the rulebook, Law 12H/B says, irrespective of where the arm/hand is positioned, it doesn’t mean an offence has been committed as there has to be a deliberate movement of the arm/hand towards the ball. No matter how many times you watch Kimpembe jumping towards the ball, you can’t realistically make a case for him trying to affect the path of the ball with his hand, and what’s more, is that his arm was tucked into the side of his body.
To call the decision harsh seems to downplay it given that PSG are now out of the competition at the hands of VAR and not Kimpembe. Despite this, UEFA have backed the decision made by the referee with the help of VAR on the grounds that Dalo’s shot was not from a short distance away from Kimpembe.
Very rarely will an organization like UEFA publicly criticize one of their referees so their party line is not surprising in the slightest. What is more revealing, though, is that ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher, who tends to bat for the referee’s union, says the decision would have never stood in England. Normally if there is the slightest bit of doubt, Gallagher will side with the referee but he is taking a firm stance on this one and calling the referee out for making the incorrect decision.
What that decision does is keep United’s hopes of winning the Champions League alive and who knows how important it could be should they not finish in the top four this season? Switching focus to the league, it would have been pleasing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to see Arsenal drop points against Spurs in the North London derby with United due to make the trip to the Emirates once they returned from France’s capital.
It was a game that could prove pivotal in the race for Champions League qualification and going into it, Solskjaer would have hoped the pros at betconnect had it right with their Premier League betting tips when they predicted Spurs would maintain their derby dominance by not losing to Arsenal. Thankfully for the 45-year-old, they were right on the mark, which meant United could head to Paris with peace of mind.
It hasn’t gone as smoothly since then with the Red Devils suffering from what can only be described as a Paris hangover after losing 2-0 to the Gunners in North London. Indeed, United were never able to take flight at the Emirates and this continuous tit-for-tat in the race for the top four gives United no assurances whatsoever of qualifying for the 2019/2020 Champions League via the league. Thankfully, thanks to Damir Skomina, the dream of qualifying by winning Europe’s showpiece club event is still very much on.
1 – Marcus Rashford's penalty was the first he has ever taken for Manchester United in a competitive match. Nerve. #PSGMUN pic.twitter.com/wqa8jllGvF
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 6, 2019
What they did in Paris, regardless of any howlers from VAR, deserves huge credit, and attention will now turn to whether or not they can go all the way in the competition.
As for PSG, sadly they were hard-done-by and the elusive Champions League title remains out of reach for another season. VAR’s hand in it may, however, muddy the waters a little and ensure Thomas Tuchel keeps his job and is able to have another crack at it next season. Manchester United left Paris with the job done but around the City of Light and the world, many will be in the dark as to how they were able to complete it.