Neymar lashes out at VAR after PSG’s Champions League loss
‘This is a disgrace . . . How is a guy going to hold his hand behind his back’
Neymar has called the VAR-assisted Manchester United penalty, “a disgrace”. Photograph: Getty Images
Injured Paris St Germain striker Neymar lashed out at the video assistant referees (VAR) system on Wednesday, calling the late penalty decision that led to their elimination from the Champions League a “disgrace”.
The French champions won 2-0 away at Manchester United in the first leg and although they were 2-1 down on the night they were going through on aggregate until the stoppage time penalty award gave United a shock 3-1 win.
The penalty, awarded for handball against Presnel Kimpembe after the referee consulted the VAR, put the English club through on away goals.
The decision infuriated Neymar, who watched the match from the stands after returning a few hours earlier from partying at Rio de Janeiro’s famous carnival.
“This is a disgrace!! And they put four guys there who don’t understand football to look at a slow motion replay ... It’s just not possible!!!”
“How is a guy going to hold his hand behind his back,” he wrote in Portuguese on Instagram, before finishing with an expletive commonly used in Brazil.
Neymar missed both legs of the tie after injuring his foot in January.
The Brazil captain joined the French club from Barcelona in August 2017 for a world record fee and the Champions League has become the holy grail for him and a club that have spent big to fulfil that goal.
However, this latest defeat marked the third time in three years they have failed to make the last eight of the Champions League.
Even though Wednesday’s loss was just their third in 51 European games at the Parc des Princes, they have never reached the semi-finals of the continent’s premier club competition.
Meanwhile Thomas Tuchel still has the “trust” of Paris St Germain’s board despite his team’s shock defeat. The German appears to be on borrowed time, but club president Nasser Al Khelaifi says now is not the time for anyone to rush into a decision on what happens next.
Success in domestic competition is almost a given at PSG, so each coach is measured on how he performs in the Champions League — which spells trouble for Tuchel.
“I trust the coach,” Al Khelaifi said in quotes reported by L’Equipe.
“We will see his decision, if he wants to change or if he does not change. But it’s not because we have lost a match that we have to act now. We must make decisions with a cool head.
“But this is not the moment. We want to calm down. We want to see what the coach wants too. It’s very important.”
“It’s easy to explain (the defeat): we made two gifts in the first half,” he said.
“We totally controlled the game in the first 30 minutes. We played with a lot of quality, a good mentality, a good reaction after this first gift to Manchester.
“We had a lot of opportunities. And there, without opportunity, without anything, there is this second goal of Manchester. And there, it’s as if everyone said to themselves: ‘They have two goals while they do not attack. We controlled the game, it was a totally ridiculous result.
“I never felt that Manchester United was coming to win. But hey, they did it so congratulations for that but ... I do not know if the season is ruined. I do not know.
“Do you want a good answer 20 minutes after the match? This is the time to defend my players, that’s all.”
Tuchel said he is still in favour of video assistant referee (VAR) technology despite controversy over the award of the decisive spot-kick.
“I think there are reasons why you can give this penalty,” he said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.
“When (the referee) goes to VAR we know he has reasons. With handball, you have soft facts but not hard facts. The shot is wide, and then suddenly it’s a penalty. OK.”