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Premier League admits VAR got Aston Villa penalty decision wrong

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

The Premier League has admitted video assistant referee Graham Scott should have overturned the penalty decision which went against Villa in Thursday’s defeat to Manchester United.

Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa (left) concedes a penalty to Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes

Moments after Trezeguet had almost put Villa ahead, United were awarded a spot-kick despite Bruno Fernandes treading on defender Ezri Konsa’s leg as he turned on the ball.

Scott allowed referee Jon Moss’ original decision to stand and Fernandes converted from the spot to set the visitors on their way to a 3-0 win which pushed Villa deeper into the relegation mire.

A furious Dean Smith branded the decision “disgraceful” with the Premier League later admitting to the BBC’s Match of the Day programme Scott should have intervened and overturned the call.

It was not the first time Villa this season had found themselves on the wrong end of a dubious VAR decision.

Earlier in the season they were denied a late penalty in a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, another match in which Moss refereed.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s free-kick winner was allowed to stand despite the Gunners having a player positioned in Villa’s defensive wall.

The rules, meanwhile, meant VAR was powerless to intervene when Kevin Friend incorrectly penalised Jack Grealish for diving - denying Villa a late leveller - in August’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

“I always felt that’s why VAR was brought in for, to pick up human error,” said Smith.

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“The only ones they’re getting right are the offsides, even if it is a toenail over the line.

“We’ve had a few bad decisions, when you think back to Crystal Palace, then Sheffield United scored a goal here that was disallowed.

“There have been some really poor VAR decisions for a system that’s meant to help.”

In what was a rough night for the VAR system, the Premier League also admitted incorrect penalty decisions had been made in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Southampton and Tottenham’s 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.

Villa remain four points adrift of safety with only four matches left to play and the club’s former striker Dion Dublin said: “VAR is there to say has the referee made an error and they didn’t think he had. That might cost Villa millions.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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