Wolfsburg 1-1 Sevilla: La Liga side snatch point after late VAR controversy


Wolfsburg’s first Champions League home fixture in five years ended on a sour note on Wednesday evening.

Mark van Bommel’s side drew 1-1 with Sevilla at the Volkswagen Arena. However, they will believe they should have taken all three points from the match.

The Bundesliga side took the lead shortly after half-time when Renato Steffen fired in from close range. From then on, Wolfsburg worked hard to repel their Spanish opponents in what was an ill-tempered affair. They very nearly got full reward for their efforts.

Referee Georgi Kabakov set the tone for the night when he showed a yellow card to Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix in the very first minute of the game – and a steady stream of cautions followed throughout the match.

Many of the 10 bookings over the course of the encounter were fully deserved. With that said, the Bulgarian official and his VAR colleagues combined to drop an absolute howler when Sevilla were awarded a penalty six minutes from time.

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VAR was called upon to deem whether Wolfsburg midfielder Josuha Guilavogui had made illegal contact with Erik Lamela in the box while clearing the ball.

The decision should have been a straightforward one. Replays clearly showed that the ball had been won cleanly – and that any contact with Lamela was minimal at best.



With such compelling video evidence, the VAR team should have been able to swiftly let the referee know that there was no case to answer.

However, Kabakov was instead called over to the pitchside monitor to review the passage of play. Despite having full access to a number of angles that appeared to prove that the Wolfsburg player won the ball fairly, the official inexplicably decided to award the spot-kick.

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Worse still, Guilavogui – who was already on a yellow card – was booked for a second time and given his marching orders.

Perhaps predictably, Ivan Rakitic sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to score from the penalty that followed, securing Sevilla a point in the most controversial of circumstances.

You can check out the incident, as well as the farcical decision-making afterwards, below.

That a referee appointed to officiate in Europe’s top club competition can make such an obvious error – even with the assistance of replays – is concerned.

Wolfsburg midfielder Maximilian Arnold summed up the feelings of everyone associated with the club after the game over the penalty decision.

“I don’t know if today is the first day they’ve used VAR, if it’s all new for them,” said Arnold, per The Washington Post. “That’s no penalty. I’m sorry, you can’t whistle for that in the Champions League.”

Fans on social media were in full agreement with that sentiment. Here is a selection of their responses to the ruling.


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