A closer look at Manchester City’s run of bad luck with VAR

The VAR system has so far not been kind to Pep Guardiola’s team.

By Press Association Published: 18 August 2019 - 5.56pm

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City were once again frustrated by VAR after Gabriel Jesus’ last-gasp ‘winner’ against Tottenham was chalked off on Saturday evening.

It was the third significant VAR call to go against Guardiola’s men, the second this season, and the second time Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs were the beneficiaries.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the incidents in question.

Man City v Tottenham (Champions League, April 17)

VAR on big screen
Two key decisions in the final 20 minutes went Spurs’ way in April (Mike Egerton/PA)

Spurs edged through to the Champions League semi-finals on a thrilling night at the Etihad Stadium which saw the last-eight tie end 4-4 on aggregate after City’s 4-3 win. The two decisive moments came courtesy of VAR in the final 20 minutes. First Fernando Llorente’s crucial third goal for the visitors, which turned out to be the one to send them through, was allowed to stand after referee Cuneyt Cakir checked footage and concluded that the striker had not handled the ball prior to it hitting his hip and going in. Then, in stoppage time, City thought they scored the goal they needed when Raheem Sterling struck from close range. But the hosts’ celebratory mood turned sour as replays showed Sergio Aguero was marginally offside and it was ruled out.

West Ham v Man City (Premier League, August 10)

City players
A VAR check disallowed City’s third goal at the London Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)

City were denied what would have been their third goal – and Jesus’ second – after VAR adjudged Sterling offside by the narrowest possible margin in the build-up, with his left shoulder just beyond the last defender. Aguero later had better luck with VAR when his penalty was saved by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski but he was given a second chance with Hammers midfielder Declan Rice penalised for encroachment. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice and City went on to win their Premier League opener 5-0.

Man City v Tottenham (Premier League, August 17)

Jesus thought he had netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner in City’s first home game of the new campaign, only for VAR to once again intervene and allow Tottenham to leave with a 2-2 draw. The Brazilian looked to have justified Guardiola’s decision to bring him on in place of Aguero when he found the back of Hugo Lloris’ net at the death to earn what he thought was a richly deserved victory for the champions. But the goal was the subject of a lengthy review, which was conducted despite no complaints from any visiting players, and was eventually ruled out for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.