Man City were on the brink of a draw with Everton only for a ridiculous decision from VAR Chris Kavanagh to overlook a clear handball, with the referees now apologising.
It’s not often Liverpool fans are so gripped to an Everton game, but Saturday evening’s clash with City at Goodison Park was a crucial one for the Reds.
With Frank Lampard’s side battling relegation, there was no room for error against the reigning champions, and any result for the Blues would, in turn, boost their rivals’ title bid.
Everton produced a spirited performance only to be outdone as Michael Keane’s mistake handed Phil Foden an easy finish, but soon after they were up the other end chasing an equaliser.
And with the ball bouncing up in the box, City midfielder Rodri used his arm to control and clear – an incident referee Paul Tierney, unsurprisingly, missed.
PGMOL General Manager Mike Riley has made personal phone calls to Bill Kenwright and Frank Lampard to apologise following the decision by VAR not to award Everton a penalty against Man City ? pic.twitter.com/PulD9MxojA
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 1, 2022
But with Kavanagh in the VAR booth at Stockley Park, a lengthy review took place, only for the clear and obvious error to stand as City not only got away without a penalty but sealed three points rather than a likely one.
After the game, Lampard described the situation as “incompetence at best” and added: “I’ll wait for the statement or apology they do when things are wrong but it will mean nothing.”
According to Sky Sports, PGMOL general manager Mike Riley – head of referees – has now apologised to both Lampard and Bill Kenwright, effectively admitting the decision was wrong.
In short, City were gifted a victory when they were on course to drop two points in a title race that could rest on either Liverpool or City slipping up.
Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Pep Guardiola himself admitted that the penalty should have stood, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.
“It looks offside for Richarlison,” he said. “If it’s not offside it’s a penalty.”
Neither Kavanagh nor Tierney are scheduled to referee a game in this weekend’s Premier League. However, Tierney is currently appointed as VAR for Aston Villa vs. Southampton.
Kavanagh will only serve as fourth official for Newcastle vs. Brighton, though it remains to be seen whether there is a further demotion as punishment.