Poland vs Nigeria: VAR would have changed the outcome - FCNaija

Super Eagles By: Lolade Adewuyi | 25/03/2018

Super Eagles get boost for Serbia friendly - FCNaija

Nigeria’s 1-0 win against Poland on Friday has emphasized why we need technology in the world’s most popular sport. The scoreline and the hue of the game would have been very different had a 42nd-minute header by Grzegorz Krychowiak, that bounced off Leon Balogun and seemed to cross the goal line before the defender scrambled to clear it out, had been allowed to stand. Unfortunately, appeals by the Polish players were turned down by the assistant referee.

But watching it on TV, one could not deny that it definitely crossed the line. It should have stood for a goal to the hosts. It denied them a good reward for their opening intensity as they missed three opportunities in the first half.

They would be punished in the second half by a wily Victor Moses who made the most of the flimsiest of touches to fall flat inside the box and win a penalty. He made the goalkeeper look ordinary when he cheekily sent the ball rolling into the lower left corner of the goal to ensure that Nigeria ran away with a slim victory.

Doesn’t this remind of another incident at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Nigeria defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0?

In that game, Edin Dzeko scored a clear goal that was ruled offside. If it had stood, the game would have been different and Nigeria’s fate might have hung in the balance. That victory and the one point from the draw against Iran meant Nigeria made it through to the round of 16.

However, if there had been the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at that time to review the officials’ decision, things would have been different. Dzeko was very angry after the game when I asked him about it in the mixed zone. Four years later, Nigeria profit from another mix-up.

In an era where the VAR is now part of football, the decision not to use it in Friday’s game was a disservice to fans and both teams. Other friendly matches made use of VAR. There’s no hiding place because VAR will be used at the World Cup in Russia.

If Krychowiak’s goal had stood, then we would have been able to see how the Super Eagles would have reacted to going behind. After their 4-2 come-from-behind victory against Argentina, it would have been great to see their resolve tested once again.

In Tuesday’s game against Serbia, Nigeria will come against a team that is smarting from a defeat and in need of a confidence-boosting victory. Serbia lost 2-1 to Morocco in a friendly in Turin on Friday. Ranked in 34th position by FIFA ahead of Nigeria’s 52nd ranking, Serbia should provide another stern test at The Hive Stadium in London.

One hopes that we see a game that has less controversial moments and presents each team with a fair opportunity to win. The VAR is the future of football and it needs to start playing its part as we lead up to the biggest tournament in the world.