April 12, 2018 / 12:00 AM / 9 months ago

Soccer-Juve president calls for VAR after disputed late penalty

MADRID, April 12 (Reuters) - Juventus president Andrea Agnelli called for the video assistant referee (VAR) to be used in the Champions League after his side were knocked out by Real Madrid in a thrilling quarter-final second leg which was decided by a debatable injury-time penalty.

Cristiano Ronaldo blasted home from the spot in the 98th minute after Mehdi Benatia was judged to have fouled Lucas Vazquez, giving double European champions Real a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Juventus, who had lost 3-0 in Italy, had squared the tie with a double from Mario Mandzukic and another goal from Blaise Matuidi in a stirring comeback, and were seconds from forcing extra-time in a stunned Bernabeu when the penalty was awarded.

Amid Juve’s angry protests after the decision, their goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon was shown a red card for pushing referee Michael Oliver.

“A goal-line official behind the line isn’t the same thing as an official in front of a video replay,” Agnelli told reporters.

“If UEFA are not ready, then they need to train people quickly, just as Serie A did, plus in Germany, Portugal and elsewhere.

“This isn’t about one or two incidents, but about going forward in a massive tournament that brings so much money and prestige. We can’t allow these incidents to occur.”

Video technology has been used on a trial basis this season in Serie A, the Bundesliga and some English domestic cup games and is set to be used at the World Cup finals.

The lack of technology in the Champions League also came under the spotlight in Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday when City had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside against Leroy Sane.

“Players make mistakes, so do referees, but this official completely lost control of the situation,” added Agnelli.

Real forward Vazquez said he understood Juventus’s frustrations but had no doubts that the decision was correct.

“It’s normal, it was the last minute, but it was a penalty,” he said.

“Cristiano gave me the ball and when I was about to shoot the defender came from behind and knocked me over, there’s no argument.”

Real coach Zinedine Zidane was not interested in speaking about the decision at great length and instead basked in the glory of his side winning the tie.

“They told me it was a penalty, I didn’t see it but the referee gave it and it can’t be changed. I never argue with referees. I’ve had many reasons to, but I never get involved,” said the Frenchman.

“I’m happy because in the end for seventy, eighty minutes we deserved to win. It was going to be difficult for us to not score as we had so many chances but the ball didn’t want to go in.

“We played a great game over there, left with 3-0 and today everything was in reverse. But this is football and it’s beautiful.” (Reporting by Richard Martin Editing by Ian Chadband)

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