Pep Guardiola knew straight away that Raheem Sterling tripped himself up v Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester City v FC Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Group F

UEFA are considering fast-tracking Video Assistant Referees (VAR) so that it will available in the latter stages of this season’s Champions League.

European football’s governing body announced in September that VAR will be included from 2019.

But, according to BBC Sport, the technology - which was a success at the World Cup - could be used in the knockout rounds of the European competition.

UEFA only need to watch the penalty that Manchester City were awarded in their 6-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday to realise that VAR is needed.

Sterling tripped himself up as he prepared to shoot, but referee Viktor Kassai was convinced that Shakhtar’s Mykola Matviyenko made contact with the Man City forward.

Many are considering it the worst penalty decision ever - and it’s hard to disagree.

"I went to chip the ball and don't know what happened,” Sterling told BT Sport afterwards. “I didn't feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref.”

Guardiola's reaction

Sterling was criticised by some for not owning up to the referee, and maybe he would have done if City were leading by more than just one goal.

His manager, Pep Guardiola, knew straight away that it wasn’t a penalty.

Footage has emerged showing the Spaniard’s reaction to the decision. He immediately turns around and gestures that there was no contact between Matviyenko and Sterling.

Pep knew. Unfortunately for Shakhtar, Kassai didn’t.

Guardiola called the calls for VAR after the incident.

“It's not (a penalty),” he said. “VAR doesn't exist in UEFA so that is the problem.”


It would be an almighty shame if a major game is decided by such a horrendous error later on in the tournament, especially when UEFA know that the technology is available to them.

Hopefully BBC Sport’s report is correct and we see VAR when the knockout stages get underway in February.

Until then, we may see a few more awful decisions in Europe’s finest club competition.

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