VAR's most outrageous moments: Man Utd, Alisson and Tottenham feature

This week marks five years since the very first time the video assistant referee system was used in football.

Love it or loathe it – and you probably loathe it – we might as well all accept the fact that VAR is here to stay. Once you introduce this kind of technology, it’s very difficult to go back and pretend like it never happened.

One thing’s for sure, though, it’s all been a bit messy and to say it hasn’t gone to plan would be quite the understatement, given the sheer amount of chaos and burst blood vessels it has caused over the years.

Our friends at ESPN seem to agree, so on its five-year anniversary they decided to take a look back at the wildest, most bonkers moments in VAR history.

We’ve compiled some of the best bits in this list below:

Five minutes of madness: Tottenham vs Rochdale

Having already chosen to disallow an Erik Lamela goal after a lengthy review, VAR took centre stage yet again when Kieran Trippier was pulled down for a free-kick on the edge of the Rochdale box. Well, it was a free-kick until Paul Tierney was told to consult VAR, he then upgraded it to a penalty after minutes of deliberation that left baffled fans wondering what on earth was going on.

Son Heung-min converted the spot kick and ran off to celebrate, only for Tierney to pull him back after deciding that he came to a total stop before kicking the ball. A free-kick was awarded to Rochdale and bemused fans never understood what had gone on until they left the ground that evening. Madness.

The half-time penalty: Mainz vs Freiburg

VAR was at it again in the Bundesliga, when referee Guido Winkmann awarded a penalty during the half-time break after consulting the monitor and deciding there had been a hand-ball offence in the area.

He recalled all players to the field and Pablo de Blasis stepped up to convert from 12-yards. Mainz went on to win the game 2-0 after what was surely one of the weirdest refereeing decisions we’ve seen.

VAR malfunction decides title in Australia: Melbourne Victory vs Newcastle Jets

Nine minutes into the A-League final, the VAR feed dropped off for a period of 30-seconds or so. Unfortunately, for the Newcastle Jets at least, that was all it took for Victory to get in on goal and score.

Television replays showed the goal to be clearly offside, but VAR could not be deployed in time to address the carnage. Play resumed and the goal was given as Melbourne triumphed 1-0 and took the league title.

What on earth is going on: Tottenham vs Watford

Spurs found themselves at the centre of even more officiating controversy, this time against Watford. The Hornets were winning 1-0, when Spurs thought they had drawn level in the 86th minute.

Of course, VAR wasn’t quite convinced and wanted to make sure. The referee reviewed the screen for a possible hand-ball foul, but decided to give the goal. The issue was that the screen read ‘Goal disallowed’ to the disgust of fans in the stadium.

When the whistle blew, Spurs fans thought they had lost.

Oh, you’ve scored? Sorry, penalty: SPAL vs Fiorentina

With the game finely poised at 1-1, SPAL smashed the ball into the net and celebrated what they thought was a fine lead.

The referee, though, decided that there had been a potential foul minutes earlier in the opposing area. Following a review, the referee scraped off SPAL’s goal and awarded Fiorentina a penalty.

The spot-kick was duly converted and they went on to win 4-1.

Referee pretending they have VAR: Always Ready vs Bolivar

Yes, you did read that correctly. Following a collision in the area, Always Ready desperately appealed for a penalty in an attempt to overturn their 1-0 deficit. The referee decided to go and check the monitor.

Having run back to the pitch he had decided that from what he’d seen, a penalty was to be awarded. Although, did he actually see anything? VAR was yet to be introduced in the Bolivian league.

The decision sparked chaos but Always Ready got their penalty. They took it… and hit the post.

Unused substitute concedes a penalty: Holstein Kiel vs VFL Bochum

Substitute Michael Eberwein didn’t realise the consequences of his actions when he innocently stopped a wayward shot before it went out of play.

But VAR did. The referee was called over and following laws that dictate what must happen in such a scenario, a penalty was awarded to Bochum. To make matters worse, Eberwein hadn’t even made his debut for the club!

THAT Dier handball: Tottenham vs Newcastle

Remember that controversial Eric Dier handball? Newcastle’s Andy Carroll rose for a header, only for him to nudge the ball ever so slightly against the Spurs man’s arm, which was raised above head height.

It didn’t influence play whatsoever and no one even spotted the incident except VAR. You know what happens next at this point…

Callum Wilson scored the penalty and the incident invoked a rule change six months down the line.

Fergie time… and a bit: Brighton vs Manchester United

Brighton had scored a 95th minute equaliser and Chris Kavanagh had blown the final whistle with the score at 2-2. However, VAR had spotted an infringement and asked the referee to check the monitor.

Kavanagh spotted an unfortunate hand-ball in the area by Neil Maupay and awarded a penalty which Bruno Fernandes converted. Manchester United won the game a whole 10 minutes into added time and five minutes after the final whistle…

As they say, it’s never over until the fat lady sings and in this case, even then, who knows.

Angry fans smash VAR equipment: Gremio vs Palmeiras

Relegation threatened Gremio thought they had rescued a vital point in the Brazilian league after their goal made it 2-2 against Palmeiras, only for VAR to chalk off the goal in controversial fashion. The team then eventually fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat.

The fans, however, were having none of it. They stormed onto the pitch and began to smash up the technical equipment that had snatched a key result away from them.

Alisson gets two red cards but finishes the game: Brazil vs Ecuador

For once, a player was singing the praises of the video refereeing system. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was sent off in both the 25th minute and injury time for what the referee deemed to be serious foul play. However, the Brazilian was saved on both occasions by VAR, which cleared him of all charges.

Alisson was quoted saying after the game: “This shows once again the importance of using VAR in football.”

Speak for yourself, mate.

Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid highlights (The Football Terrace)

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