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SAVED BY THE VAR

Thibaut Courtois’ horrific blunder rescued by a Champions League debut for VAR

Ajax were denied the opener thanks to the first VAR decision made in the Champions League

Thibaut Courtois will be thanking the VAR gods tonight.

Ajax had been all over Real Madrid for most of the first half and it looked like they had finally made their pressure tell.

Matthijs De Ligt rose highest for a header at a corner which should have been a routine save for the Belgian, but it turned into complete mayhem.


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Pretty straightforward from there

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Pretty straightforward from there

The ball bounced just before the Real Madrid keeper but that is no excuse for what happened next.

Instead of simply gathering the ball on the goal line, as any £35m goalkeeper should, he somehow let it bounce off him straight back into the six-yard box.

Nicolas Tagliafico demonstrated his Ox-like neck muscles to flick the ball over Courtois and into the back of the net.

Cue wild celebrations for Ajax and Courtois left looking embarrassed… But on hold, what’s that… The referee was signalling for VAR.

It bounces off Courtois

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It bounces off Courtois

Great header

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Great header

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The referee watched the play back on the pitchside monitor and it became clear he wasn’t going to give it.

Dusan Tadic, in his eagerness to get to the ball, had impeded Courtois as he tried to make up for his mistake.

And in doing so he had also managed to get himself in an offside position between Courtois and the last defender.

But let’s be honest, without Courtois inexcusably letting the ball ricochet off him back into the mele in the box none of this would have happened.

Whether you are for or against VAR, the correct decision was made here.

Courtois will still count himself a lucky boy.


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