Ahly demand replay of Egyptian league match over 'VAR error'

Hatem Maher , Friday 20 May 2022

Ahly demanded their Egyptian Premier League game against NBE Club be replayed over what they said was a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) error that led to a first-half goal being chalked off in Wednesday's 0-0 draw.

Ahly 0-0 NBE Club
Ahly were held to a goalless draw by NBE Club in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday (Ahram)

Left-back Mahmoud Wahid thought he had opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when he was released by a superb one-two with Percy Tau before drilling an angled shot home.

However, the goal was disallowed after a VAR review found midfielder Rami Rabia to have committed an error when playing a free-kick in the build-up, having kicked the ball when it was still not stationary.

Analysts differed over whether the goal should have been disallowed, with some arguing that it was legitimate, citing one of the principles of VAR's protocol which says: "The Laws of the Game do not allow restart decisions (corner kicks, throw-ins etc.) to be changed once play has restarted, so they cannot be reviewed."

The Egyptian Football Association's (EFA) refereeing chief Essam Abdel-Fattah defended the decision, saying it was taken as per "the spirit of the VAR protocol", words which prompted ridicule on social media from Ahly's angry supporters.

Some fans also cited what they believe was a similar incident in an English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Burnley on Thursday when Villa were awarded a goal even though Matty Cash had committed a foul throw in the build-up to Emi Buendia's equaliser.

"The club today sent a letter to the Egyptian Football Association demanding that Wednesday's game against NBE Club be replayed," Ahly said in a statement.

"Al Ahly based its complaint on the referee and VAR official's violation of football laws and the VAR protocol.

"The VAR official intervened in a matter that does not fall within his jurisdiction and the main referee wrongfully accepted that … which led to the annulment of a legitimate goal and deprived the team of a deserved win."

Ahly extended their astonishing winless league run to four matches for the first time in 12 years.

However, they still have destiny in their own hands as they will move top should they win their four matches in hand.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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