VAR was back to its confusing best once again in the FA Cup as Manchester United took on Reading – but finally got it right.
It took more than two minutes of consultation between Stuart Attwell and his video assistants to decide what to do at Old Trafford.
Reuters5 Old Trafford was left to wait for more than two minutes before a penalty was awarded
PA:Press Association5 There was major confusion as Fred's goal was ruled out for offside but Juan Mata was fouled in the build-up
United thought they had taken the lead when Alexis Sanchez, Fred and Juan Mata combined for the Brazilian midfielder to slot home from Mata's through ball.
Fred, though, was flagged offside as the celebrations were cut short while Mata was fouled as he passed the ball.
But then came the confusion as Attwell held his finger to his ear to communicate with Jon Moss and the wait began. And they waited. And they waited.
Finally, he blew his whistle and pointed to the spot, appearing to get the decision right in the end.
Cool as you like @juanmata8 ❄️ pic.twitter.com/modKbYx66V
— The Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 5, 2019
AFP or licensors5 Mata fired his neat finish right into the bottom corner giving Anssi Jaakkola no chance
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Mata then stuck away his penalty into the bottom corner with no problem, turning his assist into his first FA Cup goal since 2016.
But there was plenty of confusion from fans and pundits alike, while the time it took to get the decision was not ideal.
England Women's manager Phil Neville said: "I think there was a foul on Juan Mata before Fred was caught offside there. The question is whether Mata had lost control of the ball before he was fouled.
"The use of VAR was questionable there – it has got to be quicker. But in defence of Jon Moss – the fourth official – there were a lot of mitigating factors there."
BT Sport5 Those watching on TV could at least watch replays but those in the stand were left clueless
Reuters5 Stuart Attwell considered his assistant and VAR Jon Moss before finally pointing to the spot
Refs are still clueless about VAR, should’ve not set up the penalty until he heard if it was offside or not 🤷♀️ #twitterclarets
— “Mean” Olls bowl (@Ollyisgreat) January 5, 2019
#readingfc VAR will be the death of football.
For something that was introduced to sort out a couple of problems a week is now something where you can’t celebrate a goal, decent tackle , penalty decision etc until you’ve had a five minute wait. Well boring. @willow1871
— Papa Powell (@PapaPowellsays) January 5, 2019
I hate VAR 😡😡😡 #FACup
— Olaide Olatundun (@laideolatundun) January 5, 2019
I thought one of the plus points of VAR was it supposedly stopped players trying to influence ref. Doesn't appear to have changed anything-players from both sides continued to hound Stuart Attwell. Admittedly took too long but let officials do their job with VAR! #bbcfacup
— Neil Kennedy (@Grendel12) January 5, 2019
VAR is too slow. I don’t like it. #FACupThirdRound
— Joel Swann (@JoelSwann1) January 5, 2019