Cameroon’s Sebastien Siani Calls Video Referees ‘The Future’ After Reviews Controversy In Loss To Chile
Cameroon midfielder Sebastien Siani is convinced video assistant referees (VARs) will ameliorate soccer after seeing them used in his national team’s 2-0 Confederations Cup 2017 defeat to Chile in Moscow on Sunday.
Chile Beats Cameroon 2-0 in Confederations, One Goal Disallowed after Video Review
Siani — who plays for K.V. Oostende in Belgian Pro League — says he believes the new technology that provides more accurate reviews of plays will help make the sport more fair, especially if it is used quickly.
“If we can make it a little bit faster it will be good for football,” he said. “It’s the future. Sometimes we need technology and this can help.”
The VARs discounted a goal that Chile’s barely-offside Eduardo Vargas scored just before halftime, then said another goal the forward netted under similar circumstances in the final minutes of the game was valid.
It marked the first time a video replay review was employed in a major FIFA tournament. The Confederations Cup is a tourney that pits the top national teams from each geographic region against each other.
Alexis Sanchez — an Arsenal forward— came off the bench to provide a cross for Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, who scored on a header in the 81st minute to put Chile up 1-0 in the Russian capital.
Vargas then delivered the second goal on a rebound of a shot from Sanchez one minute into stoppage time after the Arsenal star evaded the goalkeeper but failed to pass a defender on the line. Sanchez was not marked offside for that goal.
Had Sanchez found the net, he would have become Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer. He currently boasts 37 goals, tied with former Lazio and Juventus forward Marcelo Salas, who retired in 2008.
Chile missed several early scoring opportunities despite evidently dominating Cameroon, which played much more defensively. The South American team believed they had gained the lead in first-half injury time after Vidal fed Vargas, who fired a shot past Cameroon goalie Fabrice Ondoa.
Referee Damir Skomina initially marked the goal as fair and Chile’s player began celebrating, although this rapidly stopped after it was announced the play would be reviewed.
Some confusion ensued both on the field and among the crowd, as certain players and fans seemed to think the referee had blown the whistle to signal half-time.
Following the video review, Vargas was determined to have been offside by just inches, which infuriated him and Vidal. The latter vehemently began arguing with Skomina, but to no avail as the score remained 0-0 at the break.
“After the first half we could’ve been up 1-0, and 20 seconds later, the players go to the locker room tied at 0-0,” Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said. “It’s disheartening, and we’re not used to the emotions that this situation generates, so we have to give it some time to see how it develops”.
Cameroon coach Hugo Broos, like Siani, expressed optimism about VARs despite witnessing his team, the African champions, lose its first Confederations Cup game since 2003.
“Of course if they go overboard with these types of situations, it could turn into a circus. But in this case I think it was useful and very important,” he said. “If you have these situations several times in each match, then it won’t be very comfortable for the players.”
Chile attacked aggressively from the beginning: Vargas’s first-minute shot ricocheted off the post and nearly went in after bouncing back into Ondoa. Vargas also fired a ball over the crossbar in the 40th minute.
Ondo saved a shot from Jose Fuenzalida two minutes later.
Nevertheless, most of the attention was focused on the FIFA referees and their video reviews, and Siani added that players will simply need to get used to them.
“Sometimes we lose time” waiting for rulings, and sometimes they don’t go your way, he said, but “it’s football now, we have to accept it.”
Chile and Cameroon’s other two Group B teammates — Germany and Australia — played their own opening Confederations Cup game on Monday. Germany won 3-2 in Russia, which means the defending (2014) FIFA World Cup champions and Chile lead Group B with 3 points each.
Cameroon next face Australia on Thursday for their second group-stage Confederations Cup game, while Chile and Germany will also face off later that day.
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