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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith says VAR is "taking the fun" out of scoring goals

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Dean Smith believes VAR is taking the fun out of football after Villa found themselves on the receiving end of another questionable retrospective call.

Dean Smith.

Villa had Conor Hourihane’s first-half goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Brighton chalked off, after video assistant referee Martin Atkinson ruled Wesley had fouled Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan in the build-up.

It was a decision which infuriated Smith, who later questioned whether referee David Coote had made a “clear and obvious” error.

Villa were denied a late penalty in last month’s defeat at Arsenal when VAR declined to intervene on a handball decision, while Saturday was the second home game in succession they have seen a goal ruled out retrospectively.

Matt Targett eventually struck a late winner to see them past the Seagulls and Smith said: “It’s disappointing we score a winner with 10 seconds to go and you can’t celebrate really because you have to wait for the process of VAR, which takes out an awful lot of the fun.

“There might have been a riot had that goal been disallowed at the end!

“What is the way forward for VAR? You are asking the wrong person, I’ve no idea. I don’t get it, that’s my experience with so far.

“For that to be the first subjective decision I’ve seen just threw me totally. It wasn’t clear and obvious.

“At Arsenal it was a clear and obvious handball, every angle told you that. Today every angle showed that it wasn’t clear and obvious.”

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Hourihane, meanwhile, admitted players are being left confused by how VAR actually works.

The Republic of Ireland international had also conceded the free-kick from which Brighton opened the scoring, despite his challenge on Martin Montoya appearing to be perfectly fair.

Hourihane said: “If my challenge is good, why can’t you go back and check that?

“We conceded a goal from the free-kick, which is massive. I am not sure how the whole thing works really.

“If you can chalk off a goal for a foul, surely you can chalk off a goal because of a poor decision by the ref? I am not really sure where it is all going.

“To have all that emotion and then see it disallowed, it is deflating. Listen, we have to get used to it because it is not going anywhere, or maybe there will be some sort of change, I don’t know?”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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