Alexi Lalas explained why handballs should be a simple call moments before a controversial VAR review knocked PSG out of Champions League

  • Manchester United beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League Round of 16 after a controversial VAR review awarded them a game-changing penalty kick.
  • Referees used video review to determine PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe had committed a handball, thus giving Man U the penalty kick, which Marcus Rashford buried.
  • Moments before the incident occurred, soccer analyst and former USMNT player Alexi Lalas said that handball rules should be simplified, arguing any ball that touches a player’s hand or arm should be a handball, regardless of intention.
  • After the controversial call, Lalas said referees got the call right by his rules.

The Champions League Round of 16 ended in controversy on Tuesday after a controversial video review gave Manchester United a game-changing penalty kick to top Paris Saint- Germain and advance to the next round.

In the 90th minute, referees went to video review to judge a potential handball on PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe. They ruled the ball hit his arm, calling it a handball, and awarding a penalty kick to Manchester United.

Forward Marcus Rashford buried the ball in the back of the net to put Man U up definitively and push them into the next round.


Read more:

Manchester United shocks Paris Saint-Germain with help of controversial last-second penalty kick awarded by VAR

The timing and the ruling were remarkably coincidental, as moments before, soccer analyst and former USMNT defender Alexi Lalas posted a video on the handball rules and how soccer can clear them up.

Lalas argued that any ball that touches a player’s hand or arm, intentionally or unintentionally, should be called a foul. He said it would save everyone time and make VAR easier, as referees would only have to look to see if the ball touched a player, not the intentions of the player or any other factors that could play into the situation.

Here was Lalas’ video:

Then, moments later, PSG was whistled for a handball. Lalas applied his same logic to the incident, ruling that it should have been a handball simply because it touched Kimpembe.

Lalas’ justification might not assuage many PSG players or fans, but the simplicity of his logic would make such plays less easy and less controversial.

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