During added time, Newcastle was in the lead with a valiant display, but their luck turned as Ousmane Dembele clashed with Tino Livramento in the box, resulting in a controversial handball decision. The ball looped up to hit the Newcastle defender’s midriff and then deflected onto his left arm. Despite the arm not being raised high and the clear body-ball contact, VAR officials requested a review.
According to FIFA’s handball guidelines, the deflection off Livramento’s body onto his arm was not taken into consideration if the defender’s arm was deemed to be in an unnatural position. Szymon Marciniak, the referee, overturned his initial decision and pointed to the spot.
The decision sparked criticism from former players, with Alan Shearer calling it “disgusting” and Ally McCoist labeling it “nonsense.” However, former FIFA referee Christina Unkel defended the call, stating that according to the current laws of the game, it was the right decision.
For Newcastle, it was a cruel ending as the penalty tied the game, leaving their Champions League destiny out of their own hands with one game to go. This has reignited the debate on whether the handball rule should be revised once again.
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