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Guardiola fumes at VAR controversy; O’Neil calls Toney penalty decision ‘scandalous’

Pep Guardiola fumes at the VAR controversy over the Bruno Fernandes goal while Gary O’Neil calls an Ivan Toney penalty decision ‘scandalous’.

Man City’s Manuel Akanji said Fernandes’ leveller in the Manchester derby was a “joke” with Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag admitting he “wouldn’t be happy if we conceded a goal like this”. Fair to say that really sums it up.

Fernandes put the ball past Ederson to cancel out Jack Grealish’s opener, however the goal was initially ruled out with assistant referee Darren Cann raising his flag for offside against Marcus Rashford, who was clearly offside, and ran towards the ball, but after a conversation with Darren Cann, referee Stuart Attwell decided Rashford didn’t interfere with play.

Rashford met Alejandro Garnacho’s cross in the 82nd minute to hand the Red Devils a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford, meaning they are now just one point behind second-placed Man City.

Why it was given: Although the initial ruling by the linesman was for offside, VAR referee Stuart Atwell awarded the goal. Rashford did not touch the ball or interfere with any Man City defenders. After the goal was awarded, the visitors vented their anger.

The Premier League explained to TV broadcasters after the game that the “flag went up, ref and linesman had a conversation, deemed no touch on the ball from Rashford and no impact on the defender being able to play the ball. VAR could not find evidence of clear and obvious error so supports the goal.”

Pep Guardiola says it should ave been ruled out for an offside by Marcus Rashford, as the forward was “intervening” in the move that saw the derby turn on its head.

“Manu Akanji stops the line [of running],” said Guardiola. “If he knows that he is going to go with Rashford, he will go back with him and do the duel one versus one and he sees what happens. But he [Rashford] intervenes in the action.

“But the referee decided he did not intervene in this stadium. It’s ok, what are we going to do? Are we going to make a complaint? No. Congratulations for that. Sometimes it happens in our [favour]. Sometimes [it’s like] that.


“The decision is they didn’t believe he [impacted the play]. Rashford was intervening in this action when this happened. It’s Old Trafford. We have to play much better. Like it’s Anfield. We have to do better.

“The rule is the rule, the interpretation belongs to the referee. I say Rashford is offside, Bruno is not. The situation is for the referees.”

Guardiola gives an example that an offside player standing in the line of the goalkeeper’s vision from a team-mate’s shot is normally penalised – and that this was a similar scenario.

He focused on how City could have defended better in the minutes after Fernandes’ equaliser.

“Rashford is offside. Bruno Fernandes is not offside. The question is intervening or not intervening in the action,” said Guardiola. “When one player shoots and [another] player is in front of the keeper and does not touch the ball, it’s disallowed all the time.

“The decision is of course [belonging to] the referees and VAR. We follow the action, we don’t make an offside [appeal], we follow the action and after the action, it’s either Ederson intervenes [with a save] or not.

“What can we improve? After we concede the goal, in the next few minutes we cannot concede the next one. We allowed them to score. Come, come, come. This is the most important detail we have to improve for the future.”

What is the offside rule in this case?

A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:

– interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or

– interfering with an opponent by:

– preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or

– challenging an opponent for the ball or

– clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or

– making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

Another controversial moment saw Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil describe the decision to award Brentford a penalty as “scandalous”, adding how he felt it “strange” that Jarred Gillett was chosen to referee the Premier League game.

Gillett gave the spot-kick to the hosts when Toney went over under Marcos Senesi’s challenge towards the end of the first half, with Andre Marriner, on VAR duties, not intervening.

Toney stepped up and put Brentford ahead with Mathias Jensen getting another to secure a 2-0 win for the hosts, handing Cherries a sixth defeat in a row in all competitions.

It was the first Cherries match Gillett had officiated since the playoff semi-final second leg between these two clubs in May 2021, where he sent off Chris Mepham having already awarded a controversial penalty for a handball by Lloyd Kelly. Brentford won 3-1 that day to progress to the final.

“Ivan Toney has managed to lock Marcos’s arm underneath his and just drags him,” O’Neil told the Daily Echo, discussing the penalty decision.

“How we are in a day and age with VAR and we still get that wrong I think is scandalous.

“I’ve spoken to the referee. I told him that I expect an apology, even though that doesn’t help me.

“I think when you get something that wrong, when it’s that important.

“Obviously he has some history as well from when we were last here in the play-off semi-final. I thought he was equally as bad this evening as he was then.”

Asked what he has been told about the decision, O’Neil added: “I’ll be able to catch up with him shortly. Obviously you have to leave it a little while after the game before you have a detailed chat. So I’ll try and get exactly what went on.

“Because when I watched it, I thought they are definitely overturning that. They’re definitely giving us a foul. And then you hear the usual noise that you hear at the moment when you’re a Bournemouth fan and there’s a VAR check. They are going to upstand the decision and they are going to give a penalty against you.

“But if we focus purely on today’s one and forget the ones in the past, I thought it was a terrible decision.”

Asked if he was concerned pre-match about the decision to select Gillett as referee for this particular contest, O’Neil said: “I thought it was a strange game to give him, given the last one.

“But I also thought that he’d cope with it fine. And he should get some help from VAR as well.

“Live, I can understand why you would think that obviously there’s a coming together and you can see that Ivan Toney has gone over.

“Anyone can make a mistake at that moment. But then how we don’t reach the right conclusion with what we have available to us now is scandalous.”

This is what social media users said as Guardiola fumes at VAR controversy and O’Neil calls the Toney penalty decision ‘scandalous’…

@joelsam7: Toney locks his arm with the Bournemouth defender’s arm untill they go into the box and then just falls over!

@LeeBetts28: How anyone can say that VAR has improved the game is on some very strong drugs

@OeivindLundberg: Agree. Was a freekick for Bournemouth.

@GJHeidler: If managers are being fined for behaviour these days… This is VERY close to O’Neil calling a referee “corrupt”. “same referee from the playoffs” as if 1) he’s deliberately penalising Bournemouth and 2) that the penalty in the playoffs wasn’t a pen (which it 100% was)

@jamesallcott: Gary O’Neil is spot on. That Toney penalty is scandalous as he says. How does that get past VAR??! No one will be interested as it’s Bournemouth, but that’s huge for them. Shocking day of refereeing today in the Prem.

@AFCBMackie: I for once completely agree with what he says there. Both Marcos and Ivan are both pulling each other if Marcos went down free kick to us not 1-0 but he doesn’t Toney goes down and gives the referee a decision to make and he awards the penalty #afcb

@craigdermody70: Agree 100%… Toney had the defenders arm clamped under his well before any challenge. Another example of someone in charge of VAR not having a clue what they’re doing! That’s one at Brentford & another up at Old Trafford!

@MammothTranspo1: 100% no Pen. Toney bought that big time. Free out and booking for Toney the correct decision. Too much diving going on these days. He must of had a few quid on himself to score a Pen 😅

@gazrw: He’s right and the clowns at Stockley Park couldn’t see how Toney bought the penalty time to get rid of all these official they are inept or I think something more sinister

@tod1877: he’s not wrong, after the last two games I expected better yesterday at Wolves but we still ended up with that shithouse uncle fester

@AshJohnson20: The most blatant offside in history man. Any other team in any other ground in the league and that’s offside.

@JReadingAloud87: Rashford’s interfering. To not interfere he’d have to stand still. He follows the run of the ball, right until it’s in Fernandes’ path.

@Spursdude1985: Hes stopping the defender getting it what a joke

@CritchBFC: This offside rule is absolutely crazy, akanji steps up cos of Rashford so that’s making defender change his movement, surely that’s classed as interfering with play cos if he don’t do that he will get to ball before Bruno

@DANIELHANBURRRY: how is he not interfering with play? Rashford stops the defender behind him from getting to the ball and makes both city players change their decisions in defending which allowed bruno to take the ball

@d_greenleaf82: This is mental. With this being the rule. And if a defending player touches/controls the ball, a new phase of play begins, then a forward can just stay off side all game, chase balls down, then tackle defenders. Let’s see if that’s allowed.

@RayleighTownFC1: Jesus Christ the officials make it up as they go along. How is that not offside. OFFSIDE RULE – A player is offside when making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

@richnewsome60: It’s a goal. Coaches and defenders haven’t adapted to the new interpretation of the rules and the defenders shouldn’t have stopped. Interesting to see whether teams start to specifically place attackers in offside positions to give an edge to players breaking from midfield.

@ConorMiddleton: Insane decision. How is shielding the ball not interfering with play? Ederson would have just come out to collect it otherwise. You can’t dance around the ball and say you’re not interfering when offsides have been given for just being in the keeper’s eyeline. #ManchesterDerby

@mattmitch66: Agree. No, I don’t support any of the teams in the top six. That should be offside all day long. *If* Rashford had been on the touchline and similarly forward of play, then maybe not, but he was in the middle of play, bearing down on goal, how is that not interfering with play?

@GazD1882: The big issue here is the ball is intended for him. If he’s not where he is that pass doesn’t get played. By being offside he’s invited the pass and created the situation. He’s clearly interfering

@PresleyH90: Apparently the guy who dictates both edersons and akanjis finally position, the same guy who had the ball passed to him wasn’t interfering with play 🤯

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