Flamengo’s 1-0 victory over Corinthians, in a duel that took place yesterday at the Maracanã that eliminated the Paulistas from Libertadores, had VAR action in a bid that ended with Bruno Méndez, defender of the São Paulo team, sent off.
The move in question took place around the 20th minute of the final stage, in a dispute over the top between the Uruguayan and forward Pedro, already in the home team’s attack field.
The two players fought for space in the race when Méndez hit the ball with his arm, avoiding a dangerous attack by Flamengo.
At the time of the dispute, referee Esteban Ostojich ordered the game to continue, but the VAR, commanded by Leodan González, called the Uruguayan countryman for a review as soon as the ball left the pitch.
When checking the play in the cabin, the field referee called the foul for Flamengo and expelled the Corinthians player from the field.
“The VAR procedure was correct. If there was a goal, he would also be consulted. As for the expulsion, it was also correct, as Bruno Méndez avoided a clear goal situation because he was the last defender”, explained former referee José Aparecido from Oliveira to UOL Sport.
Alfredo Loebeling, who also made a career in the whistle world, was another to agree with the performance of the Uruguayan referees.
“VAR is made for that, he makes a correction. He thinks the play is for a red card, calls and informs the referee, who goes to the cabin to analyze the play and listens to what the VAR is saying. The card is red because it was a goal opportunity for Flamengo. The expulsion is very correct and the VAR protocol was well used”, he said, who clarified that “VAR did not change the decision of the field, he only suggested a review. The decision remains with the referee field.”
Two other former referees also believe the decision was correct. “The VAR acted accurately when assisting the referee, as the player [Bruno Méndez] hit the ball and stopped a promising attack. The red card is correct”, said Márcio Chagas.
“The decision is correct. It is a hand on the ball that, if unintentional, takes away from the opponent the possibility of dominance, preventing a clear chance of scoring”, added Guilherme Ceretta.
Referee commentator for the SBT broadcast, Nadine Basttos corroborated the action of Ostojich and González. “[A bola] takes Bruno Méndez’s hand, outside the area, so it’s a foul with a clear goal opportunity. It is correct for the VAR to call, because it is a foul. He dominates with his arm, and Pedro would have the probability of dominating the ball and kicking it into the goal”, said the former judge.