Wellington Phoenix were denied a second goal against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park after a protracted VAR inquiry that turned a penalty decision into an offside call.
Phoenix striker Oskar Zawada was set to go to the spot with the chance to carve out a 2-1 lead on the road after Victory defender Damien Da Silva’s foul on Nicholas Pennington just inside Wellington’s attacking penalty area.
What followed, however, came a lengthy delay as VAR first analysed whether Da Silva’s foul on Pennington occurred inside the box. Then, attention turned to Pennington’s position before latching onto the lofted through ball that led to the challenge and referee Shaun Evan’s decision to award the penalty.
“That’s an armpit hair,” said Paramount+ co-commentator Andy Harper when assessing the offside call.
“Where’s the line of demarcation there? Something’s got to give. This is not what the law of offside was constructed for.
“I feel for the Wellington fans. That’s extraordinarily frustrating. Through the course of the season it happens to all teams, though, it probably should be said.”
Paramount+ pundits Grace Gill and Daniel McBreen weighed in on the contentious moment during the half-time show.
“I think the ‘Nix there are pretty hard done by, and they’d be feeling that way as well” Gill said.
“That’s so marginal that I don’t think it’s clear and obvious to be overruled. It’s a tough one for the ‘Nix, for sure.”
McBreen then played devil’s advocate: “I’m going to get everyone on social (media) smashing me here – but I thought it was on the sleeve, not the armpit,” he said, when discussing where the offside lines are drawn in the VAR booth.
“Probably a million people are going to tell me I got it wrong, and I don’t think that would make any difference, but I’m always a bit dubious about where these lines are coming from, and what part of the body they come from.
“It was touch and go, it was that tight. Victory fans will say: it was offside, so what? But (Wellington) were hard done by, I think.”
Victory and Wellington went on to draw 1-1 at AAMI Park. Incredibly, the ‘Nix failed to take a single shot in the 1-1 draw with Da Silva’s own goal cancelling out Victory midfielder Ryan Teague’s opener.