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Football Reporting


Pereira’s penalty, Phillips and Robinson keep Baggies’ survival hopes alive after VAR farce

ANOTHER must-win game for West Brom – another PR disaster for VAR.

Some things never change!

Pereira fired home the opener from the penalty spot


Pereira fired home the opener from the penalty spotCredit: Eddie Keogh Telegraph Media Group

There are many, many valid reasons you could argue West Brom deserve to be relegated this season.

But a dodgy camera angle would never have been top of many people’s lists!

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So let’s all be grateful that Sam Allardyce’s pumped-up Baggies – bristling with injustice – channelled their inner-rage to bounce back from the most farcical VAR decision you are likely to see this season.

And that really is saying something!

Matheus Pereira’s first-half penalty was followed by a close-range finish by Matt Phillips three minutes later as Baggies took out their frustrations on sorry Saints for the latest VAR shambles.

Even the fact this was the worst VAR decision of the WEEK takes a bit of beating.

Yet despite bonkers decisions which left Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester United raging with the screengazers of Stockley Park. the VAR geeks surpassed themselves within four minutes at the Hawthorns.

Somehow their cameras failed to pick out Albion’s strapping striker Mbaye Diagne inside the six-yard box as he headed home a shot from Pereira which had bounced off the turf.

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Matt Phillips fired in the second at the back post


Matt Phillips fired in the second at the back postCredit: Reuters
Callum Robinson drilled home a superb third


Callum Robinson drilled home a superb thirdCredit: Eddie Keogh Telegraph Media Group
VAR ruled out Diagne's (middle) early goal despite being clearly onside


VAR ruled out Diagne’s (middle) early goal despite being clearly onsideCredit: Sky Sports

Assistant ref Derek Eaton immediately raised his flag for offside. But once those damned lines were drawn in, everyone could clearly see Jannik Vestergaard’s heel was playing Diagne onside.

Kyle Bartle in the frame too but there was no way the defender was interfering with play – or Fraser Forster’s view.

But just as we all assumed VAR ref Kevin Friend had collared the wrong guy, the Premier League cleared up the mystery.

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They confirmed VAR couldn’t get an angle that conclusively showed whether Diagne’s upper body was offside or not, so they stuck with the on-field decision.

Maybe Diagne should go back to dyeing his hair blue so he’s easier to spot!

Fortunately Albion used the injustice to focus on the job in hand to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.

They took the lead after 32 minutes when Fraser Forster’s legs sent Pereira sprawing in the box and the Brazilian casually netted his fourth penalty of the season.

Three minutes later Diagne pounced on a reckless Danny Ings passback to set up Phillips at the back post.

Callum Robinson then added to his two goals against Chelsea last week when he burst through a gaping Saints defence to clip Yokuslu’s defence-splitting pass beyond Forster to make it 3-0 midway through the second half.

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The win lifted Albion to within eight points behind Newcastle, who host West Ham before Baggies travel to Leicester in nine days time, hoping for the chance to reduce the gap to five points.

Saints’ only consolation was the hope they got all of their blunders out of the way, before heading down Wembley Way for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Leicester City!

Even the usually reliable James Ward-Prowse failed them when his stoppage time penalty was brilliantly beaten to safety by Sam Johnstone.

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