VAR bails out Man United: Aston Villa’s disallowed goal in FA Cup had fans, pundits fuming

Manchester United edged Aston Villa 1-0 at Old Trafford in FA Cup action, but the Red Devils can consider themselves lucky for multiple reasons.

Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa entered a hostile environment and performed admirably, putting pressure on United throughout the match and came close to scoring multiple times, including a pair of goals disallowed. One of those was annulled by the VAR and enraged the Villa fans.

Ultimately, the decision was decisive as United struggled to survive and advanced to the FA Cup fourth round with victory. Aston Villa exits the competition only in the third round, a disappointing result for Gerrard & Co., who seemed more than ready for the game.

Why was Danny Ings’s goal disallowed?

In the 54th minute, Danny Ings had the ball in the back of the net on a set piece and Aston Villa seemed to have scored the 1-1 tie.

The VAR reviewed the goal for a possible offside by Ollie Watkins, who appeared to throw the ball to Ings before the goal, as Watkins appeared to be offside. The VAR initially cleared the goal to stand, determining that Watkins did not get a bunt, but the check did not end there.

VAR official Darren England noted that the man who was marking Ings, Edinson Cavani, was blocked very clearly by Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey in what was a well-executed selection play. After a very lengthy review, referee Michael Oliver had a lengthy conversation with both captains before signaling the audience offside both on site and at home. That signal was confusing, as offside initially seemed out of the question. But the offside was whistled by Jacob Ramsey.

In what was ultimately the correct decision, Ramsey was in an offside position when the ball was delivered and then affected the play with his Cavani block. Whether the play was a foul or not, Ramsey was involved in the pass and thus his offside position set the flag off.

Reaction to the VAR decision

More than anger, there was an overwhelming sense of confusion between the fans who attended Old Trafford and those who watched around the world.

Most people thought the decision was due to a foul committed by Ramsey in blocking Cavani, and that got people talking on both sides of the proverbial fence.