Man United: Huge controversy as Middlesbrough's equaliser allowed to stand despite handball

There was huge controversy in the FA Cup fourth round clash between Manchester United and Middlesbrough on Friday evening.

After Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed penalty, United took a 1-0 lead in the first-half thanks to Jadon Sancho’s goal.

The Championship outfit restored parity 25 minutes into the second half and it came in controversial circumstances.

Duncan Watmore clearly handled the ball in the area before chipping the ball across for Matt Crooks to score.

The goal was given but it looked as if VAR would rule the goal out.

However, VAR decided not to intervene, deciding that it was ‘accidental handball’.

The ball quite clearly hit Watmore’s hand, as you can see below…

Many big names have reacted with disbelief to the decision.

“That’s a handball, we’ve been robbed… by Crooks”, Peter Schmeichel said.

Piers Morgan wrote: “We all saw that flagrant handball. VAR is such a pathetic joke.”

While Rio Ferdinand said: “What’s the point of VAR…”

The goal was allowed to stand due to a rule change by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) for this season.

The Premier League website reads, per BBC: “If an attacking player’s accidental handball immediately precedes another player scoring, the goal will not be awarded, when last season it was likely to be ruled out.

“However, a player will still be penalised if he commits an accidental handball immediately before scoring himself.”

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So, because Watmore crossed the ball for Crooks to tap into the net, the goal was allowed to stand.

By law, the decision to award the goal was the correct one.

The goal proved pivotal as Middlesbrough went on to win the tie on penalties and dump United out of the competition.

There is likely to be backlash with many demanding another change to the handball rule.

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