Webb accepts Aké’s goal for Manchester City ‘should have been disallowed’ | Referees

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Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer at Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, has admitted Nathan Aké’s goal for Manchester City in their 5-1 victory over Fulham on Saturday should have been disallowed.

Aké’s header regained City’s lead to put them 2-1 up on the stroke of half-time but Fulham complained about Manuel Akanji being stood in an offside position and appearing to affect Bernd Leno in the goal. After a VAR review of the incident, the goal was given and City went on to win the match comfortably.

After the game, Erling Haaland, who scored a hat-trick for the treble winners, said he thought the goal should have been ruled out for offside, while Fulham’s manager, Marco Silva, continued his complaints and said it should have been “impossible” to allow the goal to stand.

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The Premier League aired an episode of Match Officials Mic’d Up on Sky Sports on Tuesday, showing viewers some VAR decisions that have been made in the early part of the season. On the show, Webb admitted the officials got the decision wrong with Aké’s goal and that it should have been ruled out for offside.

“From the outset, I want to say this should have been disallowed,” said Webb. “These are not always easy to call because you are trying to get two pieces of information together. Is the player in an offside position, which official is in a good position to see, and what consequence was there of the player being in that position and how it impacts the opponents?

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“It certainly appears that Akanji has an impact on Bernd Leno, the goalkeeper seems to hesitate. The officials on the field gave the goal, they did not see the obvious action that impacted Leno’s ability to play the ball. They did not feel it was clearly impactful on Leno’s ability to play the ball but when you see it, you can see that hesitation by the goalkeeper who was waiting to see whether the ball made contact with Akanji, which would have deflected the ball.

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“Unfortunately it was not identified on the day and the learning from this will be shared from all of our group because we are looking to do better each and every week – and this was an error.”

Speaking after Saturday’s game at the Etihad Stadium, Silva said: “Everyone that has played football, who has some knowledge of football, knows 100% sure to disallow that goal. For the [assistant referee] it can be difficult to see an offside position, but for VAR it is impossible not to disallow that goal. That moment had a huge impact on the game.”

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