VAR intervenes for FA Cup goal in 1st for English soccer

Referee Jonathan Moss awaits a decision from VAR (Video Assistant Referee) at King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 17 January 2018
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VAR intervenes for FA Cup goal in 1st for English soccer

In a first for English soccer, a goal was awarded thanks to the intervention of a video assistant referee as Leicester advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday.
Kelechi Iheanacho's deft finish was ruled out by the assistant referee for offside against the Leicester striker in the 77th minute, only for the decision to be overturned and the goal given by the on-field referee about 70 seconds later on the advice of the VAR.
That second goal for Iheanacho clinched a 2-0 win for Leicester over third-tier Fleetwood at King Power Stadium, in one of five third-round replays.
The use of VARs is being trialed in England in the two cup competitions — the FA Cup and the League Cup — this season, but not yet in the Premier League.
"For this decision, I like (the use of) technology, of course," Leicester manager Claude Puel said, laughing. "It's a good thing ... the time was not so long to take the video and take the decision. That was the good thing."
West Ham needed extra time to see off third-tier Shrewsbury 1-0 at home, with 21-year-old Reece Burke smashing a shot in off the crossbar in the 112th minute. It took more than three hours for West Ham to score against Shrewsbury, with the original match finishing 0-0.
In other results, second-tier Cardiff earned the right to host Premier League leader Manchester City in the fourth round after beating fourth-tier Mansfield 4-1. Sheffield Wednesday beat Carlisle 2-0 and will next play Reading, which won 3-0 at home to Stevenage.
Chelsea, Swansea and Bournemouth are Premier League teams facing lower-league opposition in replays on Wednesday.


Big Man United fan MS Dhoni delves into Fergie time for Super Kings

Updated 16 min 11 sec ago
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Big Man United fan MS Dhoni delves into Fergie time for Super Kings

  • Chennai pull off yet another act of escapology
  • Faf du Plessis whacks 46 off his last 18 balls to see off Sunrisers

92:48. If you are a Real Madrid fan, those numbers are emblazoned in the memory in the same way that they are tattooed on Sergio Ramos’s arm.
His equaliser deep into stoppage time in the 2014 Champions League final, against bitter rivals Atletico Madrid, paved the way for the Decima and Real’s subsequent dominance of club football’s premier competition.
But more than a decade before Ramos, there was Fergie time and the latest of late goals. With six games to go in the inaugural English Premier League season (1992-93), Manchester United, who had not won the title since 1966-67, trailed Aston Villa by a point. Villa were managed by Ron Atkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson’s predecessor at Old Trafford, and a 0-0 draw at home to Coventry City was undoubtedly a setback for their hopes.
But at Old Trafford, United, who had lost out to Leeds United a season earlier, were in worse shape. Sheffield Wednesday scored first and though Steve Bruce equalised in the 86th minute, Wednesday stubbornly warded off further danger. In the 96th minute, it was Bruce again — the yeoman in a team of cavaliers — whose bullet header sealed all three points. United would win all their remaining games as Villa fell apart, and Ferguson would finish his career with 13 championships.
Six years later, Fergie time came into play even more memorably at the Nou Camp in Barcelona. Played off the park for long periods by Bayern Munich, United won the Champions League with two goals in injury time. There are few more iconic images of 20th century sport than that of Sammy Kuffour hammering his fist into the ground in disbelief.
MS Dhoni, a big United fan, was an unknown teenager hoping for his big break in eastern India when that happened. And in the years that followed, he took Fergie time and added his own unique touch to it. This season, Chennai Super Kings have taken Dhoni time to new, ridiculous levels, “winning games we had no business winning”, to quote Stephen Fleming, the coach.
In the tournament opener in Mumbai, their first game back after two years in exile, Chennai were down for the count at 105 for seven, needing another 61 from 31 balls. But Dwayne Bravo (68 from 30 balls) and a hamstrung Kedar Jadhav (24 off 22) smashed and grabbed a one-wicket win off the penultimate ball.
In their very next outing, Sam Billings thumped 56 from 23 as they scaled down a mammoth 203-run target with a ball to spare. In Bangalore a fortnight later, it was the main man himself, Dhoni, clubbing 70 from 34 as Chennai chased down 206 in 19.4 overs. And in the final game of the league phase, they recovered from 58 for four to beat Kings XI Punjab with five balls to spare. This time, Dhoni flummoxed his opponents and those watching by sending Harbhajan Singh and Deepak Chahar to bat before he came in to finish the job.
The qualifier against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai on Tuesday night was another story. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu, both in such prolific form this season, fell without scoring in pursuit of 140, and Dhoni eked out just nine before he was cleaned up by a Rashid Khan googly. At 62 for six in the 13th over, most Chennai fans were just thankful they would get another opportunity to make the final. No one was thinking of Dhoni time.
Faf du Plessis did. Having not had much game time this season, du Plessis, in the XI in place of the injured Billings, scored just 21 off the first 24 balls he faced. Then, with wickets having tumbled around him, he opened up those middleweight-boxer shoulders. The next 18 balls he faced went for 46 as Chennai won with five balls remaining. As Dhoni had in the World Cup final at the same venue seven years earlier, du Plessis finished it off with a straight six.
There was much skepticism of Chennai’s auction recruitment, with the emphasis on signing very experienced hands, and it has been the decision to trust in the youthful pace of Lungi Ngidi that has helped transform their season. With so many having chipped in with match-winning displays, they may not even need Dhoni time in the final. Just do not rule out the possibility of the Fergie fan leaving it to the last, if only to troll us all.