The Frenchman thought he had given his side the lead just before half-time but his goal was controversially ruled out following a lengthy VAR check
Real Madrid felt aggrieved to have a goal ruled out just before half-time of their Champions League final against Liverpool when Karim Benzema was deemed to be offside following a lengthy VAR stoppage.
The La Liga side had been pinned back for the bulk of the first-half but had the ball in Alisson’s net with virtually their first attack of the game when Benzema swept home after the ball had pinballed around the box.
Alisson pawed Benzema’s attempted pass onto Ibrahima Konate and the ball then deflected off the centre-back and onto Fabinho’s shins before ricocheting into the Real Madrid striker’s path to score. A long VAR check ensued before referee Clement Turpin eventually ruled the goal out.
Former Premier League referee Peter Walton explained that it had been disallowed as Fabinho had knocked the ball to Benzema unintentionally and, as the Frenchman was stood behind Alisson, he was adjudged to be offside.
BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen, though, seemed puzzled at the decision.
“We’re all confused looking at each other for answers and need a referee to come in and help us because I’m baffled,” Ferdinand said at half-time. “The ball came off a Liverpool player and it’s deemed offside? I’m all over the place here, seriously.”
“It does come off a Liverpool player,” Owen added. “I think the ball goes forward to start with and I think if its just clips a Liverpool player it remains offside. However, I’m not sure whether it takes a bounce away from the goal and then comes off another Liverpool player and what’s the rule then? It bounces once and then twice and comes off two Liverpool players which makes me feel like it could be a goal.”
“All I’m hearing is that it might not be [a goal] because it’s not intentional when it comes off Fabinho,” Ferdinand added. “But it’s still come off him, that’s the point.”
At that point, Walton was encouraged to provide clarity on the situation.
“It’s actually quite easy, to be honest with you. Benzema is in an offside position. The offence is committed if the ball is played back to him. When we see the action there, Fabinho… it deflects off him, he doesn’t deliberately play the ball back to him [Benzema]. So because he hasn’t deliberately played the ball back to Benzema, he is not deemed to be onside.
“It’s come off the Liverpool player but it’s only played onside if the Liverpool player is deemed to have deliberately played the ball. That’s why it took so long for the VAR angle. They were deciding whether or not Fabinho has deliberately played it. He doesn’t, it deflects off him and therefore, Benzema is still offside.”
Ferdinand interjected: “If I’m a Real Madrid player now I’m going bananas in that changing room!”
There was confusion on Twitter too, with former Chelsea captain John Terry claiming that the rule did not make sense.
“How is that not a goal?” he tweeted. “I’m glad Peter Walton cleared it up for us [laughing emoji]. The rule clearly doesn’t make sense because when would a Liverpool player ever intentionally play Benzema the ball? [shrug emoji]. The fact it’s come off a Liverpool player surely means it’s a Goal?