Murray's VAR goal provides plenty of talking points

Glenn Murray scores Brighton's late winner. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Glenn Murray scores Brighton's late winner. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

The main talking point after Brighton's 2-1 FA Cup win against Crystal Palace last night was the use of VAR for Glenn Murray's late winner.

Much had been said before the game that VAR (video assistant referee) was being used in a domestic match in England for the first time and, overall, it has been deemed a success.

The ball goes in off Glenn Murray for Brighton's winner. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

The ball goes in off Glenn Murray for Brighton's winner. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)


There were suggestions the ball went into the goal off Murray's arm for the late winner but referee Andre Marriner and VAR Neil Swabrick, who watched replays at the Premier League base in London, deemed the ball had gone in legally.


There was confusion straight after the goal inside the stadium as Marriner did not signal a square shape for VAR but it was afterwards revealed the officials had been in contact over a head-set and deemed the goal was fair, so Marriner did not need to see video replays.


Murray afterwards said the ball had not touched his arm but Palace midfielder James McArthur admitted the Palace dressing room was split over whether the goal should have stood or not.


The game was live on BT Sport and talking on the channel post-game, former referee Graham Poll and Steven Gerrard felt it was a fair goal, while Rio Ferdinand felt some of the pictures VAR saw were inconclusive.


Murray said: "The VAR would have ruled it out but I knew it didn't touch my arm. I've seen Uwe go up at the far post and the normal thing you do is put it back across so I was waiting for that moment and I just needed to get something on it because I thought it was going to just sneak wide and luckily I did.


“I knew it didn’t touch my arm – but I don’t know what it touched. I could see in real time why he would have looked at it but obviously the other referee (Swarbrick) was in his (Marriner’s) ear telling him it was legit.


“I didn’t have a concern but, from the referee’s angle, he probably did.”


McArthur said: "We've got half the changing room saying it is a goal and half the changing room saying it is not. Even that is not clear cut.


'Everyone is split. If there are 20-odd people looking at it and we are split, it is a obviously a very hard decision.


'It is one of those on the pitch you think it is a definite handball. But when you look at it, it is not as clear cut as that. It hit Glenn's knee and then we do not know if there is contact after that.
"Maybe they did get it right and it did not touch Glenn's hand. He does not think it touches his hand.


"It is a hard one to be honest. There is so much money for clubs involved that you want mistakes out of the game. But at the same time it's part of life in football that people make mistakes. We make mistakes and referees do. You have got opinions both ways."


Palace manager Roy Hodgson said: "I think it was a genuine goal and the referee on the field Andre Marriner was helped by the fact he had (Neil) Swarbrick in the VAR studio making a judgement which could help him out.


"I have no complaints about that at all."


Seagulls boss Chris Hughton added: "I'm not sure there is any confusion. I am under the impression VAR was used and did not see any infringement on the goal and having seen it since, I think it is reasonably clear it did not hit his hand.


"That is what I am led to believe, that it was used and there was not a decision to be made.


"In all honesty, I was not waiting. At the time I was not aware there was any suggestion of handball, I did not see it that way. I knew we had scored, I didn't know how.


"What is clear is there wasn't a decision to be made as it wasn't handball. It's quite obvious. Glenn is a goalscorer and whichever way it goes in, whether they touch the ball or not they say they have and he said he got the final touch off his knee."


Speaking on BT, former ref Poll said: "To start with they look at the potential for offside, which is the first offence that would have occurred.


"As the ball was clipped in, there was a possibility of offside there and then they're going to check for the handball.

"The key thing is it wasn't handball. Even if it brushed his arm, it's not a clear and obvious error, so there's no need to clear it up.


"They got it right and the experiment this evening for VAR worked."


Gerrard said: "I think it definitely clipped his knee first, whether it brushed his arm or not. I think the goal should stand, so they got it right.


"But it is important VAR has every single angle possible to make decisions."

Ferdinand added: "It has to be cleared up completely. There can be no grey areas.

'We've got the Palace fans in the away end here who were asking us whether it was handball or not.

"The pictures we saw were kind of inconclusive in some respects. I thought initially it was definitely off his knee but if we had another angle maybe you'd be able to see the other side if it's

off his arm as well. The debate is still there.


"We've got human error, we've got the visuals and the different pictures after and it's still inconclusive."