Aston Villa moved out of the relegation zone with a victory against Burnley at Turf Moor despite having a goal ruled out for a marginal offside by the video assistant referee system.
Jack Grealish thought he had put Villa ahead, nodding in Ezri Konsa’s cross, but striker Wesley was deemed inches offside in the build-up.
Grealish turned provider for Wesley 16 minutes later, before making it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time with a powerful strike inside the box.
Burnley responded in the second half, though it took until the 80th minute for Chris Wood to record their first shot on target – nodding a cross past goalkeeper Tom Heaton at the back post to make it 2-1.
The Villa keeper was then taken off on a stretcher after appearing to jar his knee while trying to keep out Wood’s header and Wesley had been forced off in a similar manner earlier in the half.
Defeat is Burnley’s third in a row in the Premier League, while Villa picks up their first victory on the road since beating Norwich City 5-1 in October.
The year of 2019 ended with VAR controversy at Anfield, Carrow Road and St Mary’s as goals by Pedro Neto, Teemu Pukki and Max Meyer were ruled out after players were deemed marginally offside.
And on a sunny lunchtime at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day, nothing changed.
Grealish’s disallowed goal, which came in the 12th minute and was ruled out following a two-minute VAR consultation, was victim to another marginal offside call which angered fans inside the stadium.
Striker Wesley, who contested an aerial ball during the build-up to the goal, was deemed offside by barely an inch – the back of his heel appearing to cross one of several lines drawn by VAR.
Fans chanted their disapproval of the VAR systems as play resumed and, when Wesley responded to score Aston Villa’s opener, the players were reluctant to celebrate in fear of yet another goal being ruled out.
Even after Grealish doubled the lead – firing past a helpless Nick Pope from inside the box in the first half – fans jeered sarcastically at the kick-off because they had escaped another unfavourable VAR review.
Former Chelsea and England goalkeeper Rob Green said VAR was “clearly not right” on BBC Radio 5 Live, while ex-Tottenham midfielder Andy Reid added it was “just ridiculous”.
“How could that goal be disallowed?” said Reid. “Something needs to be done about it because I’m sick of talking about it and listening to it.”
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Source – BBC