VAR turning football into a computer game – Brendan Rodgers after Madrid mauling

By Sports Desk November 07, 2023

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers likened modern football to a “computer game” after claiming Daizen Maeda was sent off following a needless VAR intervention in his side’s 6-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid.

Maeda saw a yellow card upgraded to red following a VAR review midway through the first half at the Estadio Metropolitano, but Rodgers felt referee made the right call initially.

The Japanese attacker dangled a leg in a 50-50 challenge with Mario Hermoso, who hurt himself as he followed through.

Celtic were already trailing to a deflected strike from Antoine Griezmann and Atletico took full advantage of the numerical superiority. Griezmann and Alvaro Morata both struck doubles, while Samuel Lino and Saul Niguez also scored as Atletico hit a string of spectacular second-half goals.

Rodgers said: “I think the red card is a big turning point. We started well, started with confidence, got into some really good areas. We then get a man sent off early, which was a huge disappointment because I didn’t feel it was a red card.

“When you watch the re-run, both players kick each other’s feet. The referee saw that in game time and then he is asked to look at it.

“The first image he sees is not representative of the actual challenge. You plant a seed when the first image he sees is Daizen Maeda’s foot up, but that wasn’t the challenge and it’s a really, really soft red card.

“For a team coming here with 11 against 11, you would need to be at your real max to get something out the game and losing a man early, it becomes a real challenge and we tire and they scored some fantastic goals.”

Rodgers was angered by the reaction of the Atletico bench after the Maeda challenge, with boss Diego Simeone and six or seven colleagues racing into the technical area to remonstrate.

He said: “They will play the game, they are obviously trying to get our player sent off.

“Listen, it’s still up to the ref. You come away in Europe and a place like this where it’s an emotional stadium, everyone will add pressure.

“The ref saw it in game time and didn’t deem it worthy of anything so serious, but it just feels like a computer game now, football. So many visits to the screen, so many influences in the game.

“As time has gone on you see the influence of VAR and the difficulties referees have. There’s a lot of judgements going on away from the field.

“It’s not so much the technology, but how it is implemented. It’s not something I enjoy.

“When it first came out I was very much wanting to support it and hoped it would improve the game, because I think everyone thought the utopia of VAR would mean we would lose all these bad decisions.

“But you could argue there’s even more now. There’s a good percentage where it just doesn’t feel right in the game.”

Rodgers maintained a 4-3-2 formation after the red card, with Oh Hyeon-gyu coming on at half-time.

“You have seen my teams enough back home,” he said. “Whenever we lose a man it’s having that structure.

“Listen, you can have any structure you want, it can be very, very difficult against that level of opponent. It just didn’t work for us so we have to take our medicine.”

Celtic remain bottom of Group E but are still not eliminated from the Champions League, although they will need to beat both Lazio and Feyenoord and hope Atletico do them some favours to stay in Europe beyond Christmas.

Rodgers said: “We knew we had to take something from this game, but with Lazio winning as well, our objective with two games to go is to get points and see if we can improve on last season’s points total.”

Related items

  • Sargent earns recall as Pulisc, Balogun and Adams headline USA's preliminary Copa America squad Sargent earns recall as Pulisc, Balogun and Adams headline USA's preliminary Copa America squad

    United States coach Gregg Berhalter has named a 27-man preliminary squad ahead of the Copa America.

    Josh Sargent, the Norwich City forward, has earned a recall to the USA squad for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Colombia, and is set to feature for his country for the first time since 2022.

    With first-choice right-back Sergino Dest injured, meanwhile, Berhalter has turned to Nashville SC's Shaq Moore in defence.

    Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, Weston McKennie and Brendan Aaronson are among the established names to feature.

    Former Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who opted to represent the USA rather than England, has also made the cut, as has Coventry City's Haji Wright, who has had a strong season in England's second tier.

    Berhalter explained Sargent had been called up to give him another option in attack, with Wright seen primarily as a wide option.

    "Between their club form and what they've done for the national team in the past, we think it's a talented group of strikers," he said.

    Giovanni Reyna, the 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund attacker who has been on loan at Nottingham Forest since January, has also been included, despite a feud between Berhalter and the playmaker's family in the wake of the World Cup.

    Antonee Robinson has had another impressive season with Fulham, and has been called up alongside club-mate Tim Ream.

    Former Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen was a notable omission, as were MLS stars Jesus Ferreira and Jordan Morris.

    "This summer presents an opportunity for us to progress and grow as a team as we continue to build towards the 2026 FIFA World Cup," Berhalter said.

    "We have a talented group of players and are excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the world."

    Berhalter will cut down his squad after the friendlies, with Copa hosts USA taking on Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia in Group C.

  • Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview

    Juventus scored three goals in eight minutes to complete a remarkable comeback and secure a 3-3 draw against Serie A's surprise package Bologna on Monday.

    The Bianconeri, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last week, endured a nightmare start as Riccardo Calafiori and Santiago Castro propelled hosts Bologna into a 2-0 lead within 11 minutes.

    Matters got worse for Bianconeri interim boss Paolo Montero when Calafiori struck again eight minutes into the second half to put Bologna, coached by reported Juve target Thiago Motta, into a 3-0 lead, with the defender chipping the ball over goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

    Yet Federico Chiesa's 76th-minute effort kickstarted a stunning turnaround, with Arkadiusz Milik's free-kick soon after teeing up a grandstand finale.

    Kenan Yildiz was the player who sealed the draw, as Juve hit back against their potential next coach.

    The result left third-placed Bologna level on 68 points with Juve in fourth before the final matchday.

    Data Debrief: Three down? No problems

    For the first time in their history, Juve avoided defeat in a Serie A game in which they had been at least three goals behind.

    Chiesa was key to their comeback. Bologna are the team that the Italy international has scored the most league goals against in his career (seven in 11 matches).

  • Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot

    Arne Slot said it was "not an easy decision" to leave Feyenoord, but ultimately he could not turn down the Liverpool job.

    Liverpool finally confirmed Slot as Jurgen Klopp's successor on Monday.

    Klopp signed off on his nine-year tenure in charge of Liverpool with a 2-0 win over Wolves on Sunday.

    The German started an "Arne Slot" chant during his leaving speech at Anfield, and a day later, the Reds officially announced the 45-year-old Dutchman's appointment, subject to a work permit.

    Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title during his time in charge, as well as the KNVB Beker, while they also reached the Europa Conference League final in 2022.

    Speaking to Feyenoord's official website, Slot said: "It is certainly not an easy decision to close the door behind you at a club where you have experienced so many wonderful moments and worked successfully with so many wonderful people.

    "But as a sportsman, an opportunity to become a head coach in the Premier League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is difficult to ignore.

    "At the same time, we understand very well that working at a club like Liverpool is a special and unique opportunity for him. With that in mind, we started the conversation to see if we could find a solution together, and in the end we succeeded."

    Feyenoord beat Excelsior in Feyenoord's final match in charge on Sunday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.