Comebacks, shocks and VAR: Big bosses survive tough night | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:54 AM, September 28, 2020

Comebacks, shocks and VAR: Big bosses survive tough night

Fans around the world gathered in front of screens as they stepped into another weekend of league football and while there were no crowds, there was no shortage of drama and entertainment for those watching. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Frank Lampard, Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane all had a hard time securing favourable results on Saturday.

It all kicked off at Brighton, who hosted Manchester United in the Premier League, a game that was incredibly decided by the first goal in Premier League history to have been struck after the final whistle.

Brighton would have felt hard done by with just a point, having hit the woodwork a total of five times, but Neal Maupay was found to have handled the ball inside the box after a VAR review following the final whistle. Bruno Fernandes converted to secure a stunning 3-2 win.

Ole admitted that United had got away with one, joking afterwards: "First of all we have to be thankful Jose [Mourinho] isn't here to measure the goalposts, otherwise we'd have been in trouble."

The drama continued at The Hawthorns as West Bromwich Albion found themselves 3-0 up against Lampard's Chelsea inside 27 minutes. Mason Mount ignited a second-half comeback with a thundering effort in the 55th minute before Callum Hudson-Odoi added a second 15 minutes later.

Tammy Abraham tapped home a dramatic equaliser in extra time to salvage a point, although the ball hitting teammate Kai Havertz's arm shortly before the goal caused a furore. The rules, as they are interpreted in the Premier League currently, may be extremely harsh on defenders but they state that a handball will not be called against an attacking player unless it leads directly to a goal or assist.

"What do you want me to do now? Say what I want to say and get fined again?" Slaven Bilic fumed at the final whistle.

In Spain's La Liga, defending champions Real Madrid came away with three points against Real Betis in a five-goal thriller after a controversial penalty went their way following a lengthy review by VAR.

Manuel Pellegrini's side surged to a lead with a two-minute blitz, started by Aissa Mandi in the 35th minute. William Carvalho added the other, after Fede Valverde had opened the scoring.

It took Zidane's men just three minutes of the second half to draw level before Emerson was shown a straight red after a VAR review. VAR would again intervene in Real's favour, giving them what many labelled a 'soft' penalty that Sergio Ramos buried.

"When you are up against Real Madrid and VAR it is too much," Pelligrini said. "When you are playing against Real Madrid and you concede a penalty and get a man sent off because of VAR it is very difficult. But I value how well we played when it was 11 against 11."

Zidane refused to be drawn in. "There's a referee and it's his job to review the plays. I think what happened today was fair," he said.

At the San Siro, Antonio Conte's Inter Milan had a tough start to their Serie A campaign but edged a 4-3 win against Fiorentina.  The lead changed hands constantly, with Inter 1-0 down inside three minutes, 2-1 up after 52 minutes and 3-2 down again after 63 minutes until two quickfire goals, in the 87th and 89th minute from Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D'Ambrosio, gave the hosts a nail-biting win.

On a night when most big teams came away with something to show for their struggles, there was agony in Germany's WWK Arena as Borussia Dortmund fired blanks in a 2-0 defeat to Augsburg.

Dortmund, quietly hoping to pose a threat to Bayern Munich in the race for the Bundesliga, dominated the match. "I am very disappointed. It is difficult to accept this defeat. We dominated the game completely, had almost 80% possession, but sometimes that does not get you much. We started very well but we weren't precise enough, we played hastily."

 

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