Championship side Derby County hit back from two goals down to beat Premier League Southampton on penalties in an FA Cup third-round replay marred by another VAR controversy on Wednesday.
Frank Lampard’s Derby side were denied what looked like a good goal in the first half by a marginal VAR decision and Southampton then scored twice midway through the second half through Stuart Armstrong and substitute Nathan Redmond.
With Southampton closing in on an away tie at Accrington Stanley, Derby, just as they did in the first match at Pride Park, hit back to level at 2-2 with Harry Wilson and Martyn Waghorn taking the game into extra time.
After a scoreless 30 minutes Derby was ruthless in the penalty shootout, scoring all five of their kicks while Redmond put his effort high and wide.
Captain Richard Keogh’s effort sealed Derby’s progress.
“I’m delighted for the team and the squad. The work rate they put in there, having to come through VAR going against us in really small margins,” says Lampard, a four times FA Cup winner with Chelsea.
“They worked so hard and they were great penalties at the end and great courage from the lads,” says Lampard.
Derby again played some enterprising football and thought they had taken the lead in the first half when Craig Bryson slotted past Angus Gunn only for referee Anthony Taylor, after a delay of several minutes, to rule out the goal because of an offside against Waghorn during the build-up.
Even television replays failed to really show whether Waghorn had been on or off.
“We can’t tell if that’s offside at all, we’ve been looking at it for five or six minutes now,” BBC pundit Alan Shearer said at halftime. “We are talking about millimetres. VAR wasn’t brought in for this.
“If they can’t make a decision after watching a replay two or three times then it is not obvious. Derby has been very hard done by,” says Shearer.
When Armstrong nodded in after Shane Long’s header in the 68th minute had been cleared off the line and Redmond raced through to finish with a neat chip, it looked as though Derby’s misery was complete and VAR would be the main talking point.
Wilson’s free kick went through a crowd of players into the far corner but VAR again being consulted before the goal was allowed to stand and he then provided a superb cross for Waghorn to thump a header past Angus Gunn.
Both sides had chances in the extra 30 minutes with Tom Lawrence heading over for Derby while Redmond was denied by keeper Kelle Roos after being played through by Oriol Romeu.