Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho made history on Tuesday night by scoring the first goal to be awarded by a video assistant referee ( VAR) in English football.
Iheanacho grabbed both goals on what was at first a tricky night for Leicester and the closing stages could have been pretty nerve-racking had his second not been allowed, an erroneous linesman’s flag corrected by TV replays.
Predictably enough, the managers were split along party lines about the new technology. Claude Puel, previously a VAR sceptic and with a grin playing upon his lips, said it was perfect whereas the Fleetwood manager, Uwe Rösler, was not so certain.
“Can they really say it was onside, or are they guessing?”
“Sometimes even VAR is not clear. In general, don’t complicate football too much. The game is beautiful. Let it be pure,”he said.
He was, though, at pains not to blame the second goal for his side’s defeat. “That was not why we lost – they had too much for us in the second half.
Puel made the standard phalanx of changes with Aleksandar Dragovic and, surprisingly, Riyad Mahrez remaining from Saturday’s draw with Chelsea.
Adrien Silva was one of those to come in: the midfielder, who spent September-December as Schrödinger’s transferee, has made two starts in English football and they have both been against Fleetwood. Presumably, that was not in Leicester’s sales pitch.
In years to come, this might be considered the first success of a football revolution. Or, the beginning of the machines taking over and removing the joy from football. Either way, for the first time in the English game, VAR was used to reverse a decision, awarding Kelechi Iheanacho the clinching goal.
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