History has been made as VAR was used for the first time in a Champions League match on Wednesday night when Ajax welcome Real Madrid at home.
The episode happened just before half-time when Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico took advantage of a blunder from Courtois and put the ball past the Belgian goalkeeper.
However, match referee Damir Skomina was advised from VAR officials to go take another look and decided to rule out the goal deeming that Ajax’s Dusan Tadic was offside.
Skomina took his time to assess the episode in depth and was booed by the entire Johan Cruyff Arena soon after he took the decision.
Then, in the second half, Karim Benzema opened the score with a perfect finish in the left top corner before Ajax drew level thanks to a Ziyech goal fifteen minutes later.
It was in the dying moments of the match that Real Madrid got on the scoresheet once more thanks to an Asensio goal easily put past Andre Onana.
VAR in the UCL: in the 38th minute of the Ajax v Madrid first leg, Nicolás Tagliafico’s headed goal was ruled out following a VAR review. The referee identified that Tagliafico’s team-mate Dušan Tadić was in an offside position and interfering with the goalkeeper – pic.twitter.com/sPtZFd6YiB
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 13, 2019
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was in the middle of the controversial VAR episode, said the referee was right in disallowing the goal for the Dutch side.
‘I think it was the right decision, when it happened I thought maybe offside.
‘It was a mistake by me but I went to go and catch it and Tadic made an attempt to shoot, yet didn’t touch it, and as he’s offside he’s offside.
‘Because of his intention I made a quick movement and the ball bounced on my arm. It was an unlucky goal for me to concede but when I saw the screen I saw a possible offside.
‘I think it was the correct decision and luckily for us, there was VAR because otherwise, nobody would have seen it.’
On the other hand, Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag didn’t seem happy with the decision.
‘Why was it disallowed? I heard several reasons, offside, hindering the goalkeeper. But I have not seen it,’ he said in an interview with De Telegraaf.
‘We dominated, forced many chances, but scored too little.
‘Real never allow many possibilities. This was perhaps our best game of this season.’
The first time for Video Assistant Referee in the Champions League was not the most ideal as controversy prevailed, but no other incidents happened in the other matches.
Ajax were left frustrated that they weren’t able to go into the break into the lead having produced an impressive first-half display.