Manchester United fans reacted with incredulity and criticism after the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled out Juan Mata’s goal for offside during their 2-0 FA Cup fifth round win over Huddersfield.
Romelu Lukaku’s brace either side of Mata’s disallowed goal made victory certain, but Red Devils fans were left bemused both by the nature of the evidence given by the VAR for the decision and by just how tight the call was.
The graphic given by the VAR on screen at the time of the decision had a yellow squiggly line drawn level with the last man of the defence, which gave the impression that Mata was actually onside when the ball was played to him…
The provider of VAR images has issued an apology after a "technical error" led to an incorrect graphic being shown.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 18, 2018
BT Sport issued their own graphic which correctly demonstrated that Mata was just offside.
— Valentino (@ValentinoUnited) February 18, 2018
United fans still contested that the decision was incorrect…
The goal should be allowed, because the VAR line should be drawn at the tip of the defender's hand which is the same level as Mata's. The Offside rule says the part of a player's body. The tip of the hand is also the part of his body.
— wong,chung (@hioctane98) February 18, 2018
Others were quick to correct this user that the offside rule actually states that a ball playing part of the body must be offside to constitute a contravention of the rule.
A part of the body that can play the ball. You can’t play the ball with your hands
— Naz (@Planenews_777) February 18, 2018
Others took a more humorous tone in their response to the decision, such as this United fan’s somewhat biase version of the yellow squiggly line.
— Agoon (@Agoon54565226) February 19, 2018