A Missed goal is a missed opportunity for the A-League Posted on 14 Feb 18:22 , 0 comments

Last night we saw a pulsating Melbourne Derby in the Hyundai A-League between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.  The final scoreline of 2-2 hardly seems to do justice to the match that led to that scoreline.

The game seemed to have everything from forceful tackles, brilliant goals, some fine saves, a red card at the end of a bunch of yellow cards and a disallowed goal that would have decided the contest.  Sadly we also have to add to the list poor fan behaviour, which seems to accompany the big games in the A-League these days.

Whilst much will be written about the fans, it is in fact that missed goal I want to write about.

In this day and age of professional sports the world over using technology and for the large part video replay to help officials, football and FIFA has been a stand-out in letting technology helping the men in charge in the middle.

There are a host of reasons behind that thinking over the years but increasingly it is getting harder to defend, particularly when you consider the money that can be made or lost on some of the decisions.

Now clearly in thinking about say video replay in the football context we have to think it through carefully.  Decisions like offside and penalties are often line ball calls and video will not always prove the issue one way or the other.  In addition given the number of offsides a game, we don’t want the game constantly stopped to check the call.  For penalties I am a fan of close calls on the line being reviewed, but leaving the overall call of if it is or isn’t a penalty with the referee

For offsides perhaps the half way house is to use it only when a goal is scored, much like Cricket doesn’t check for a no ball every ball but does if a wicket has fallen.  Perhaps a topic for another article!

All of that brings us to the events of last night and the area where video can greatly help the game with minimal impact on the spectacle. 

It is important to note that live the call on the gaol or not is not an easy one.  The referee is having to focus on the kick tacker, the wall, the players jostling for position and it all happens in a split second.  He in theory has his assistant to help him out, however the assistant needs to be lined up in line with the last defender for offside calls.  So he also is not going to be in the best position to make the call.

With that said I did think it was poor form from the referee to not at least consult his assistant last night.  Whilst he may have had a quick exchange over the radio mike, I would have liked him to take his time and go over and make sure they both were of the same view.  Such a chat may lead to a change of minds.

Replays from last nights game clearly and quickly showed that the ball had indeed crossed the line when a Gui Finkler free kick slammed down off the cross-bar.

Given a resulting foul on City keeper Thomas Sorensen’s play was in fact stopped and would have allowed referee Beath opportunity to request the fourth official to review the replays.

I am sure when the replay was shown on the big screens the officials quickly knew they had it wrong but as it stands there is nothing they can do about it by then.  Video isn’t used so the decision stands.

Of course not all replays will be clear cut like last nights, and for now we may just have to live with that as Goal Line Technology as used in the English Premier League is clearly to costly for the A-League.

However in the A-League we do have multiple angle video fro Fox Sports and a camera in the goal itself to refer to and I would suggest the number of times they were completely inconclusive would be minimal.  I would rather have to put up with that much smaller percentage of unclear decisions that the current system where howlers are being left to stand as the final decision.

No doubt many old times will bring up missed goals from the past and claim it is all part of the game.  Whilst to a degree it is, these decisions now have a huge economic impact for the clubs.  That decision last night as an example could see Victory finish behind City and miss a Asian Champions League spot, which can be worth millions to a club.  There is of course the added impact in the A-League of a finals series and the final ladder positions determining who and where you play in the finals.  Again Victory now may end up behind City in the final standings, even though they arguably won the game 3-2.

Either way I see last night as a missed opportunity for the A-League to have decided the time had come for video review and to ensure we don’t have an obvious missed goal again mar an A-League contest.