Brazilian Cup final incidents may have changed views on VAR

Jadson of Corinthians celebrates after scoring a penalty shot against Cruzeiro during the final soccer match of the Brazil Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

SAO PAULO — Contentious decisions in the Brazilian Cup final may have changed views on VAR.

Most Brazilian clubs once supported the idea of the video assistant referee, but that was until Cruzeiro and Corinthians met in the domestic showpiece this week.

Wagner Magalhaes took charge of Wednesday's game and the almost unanimous reaction was that the referee made the wrong decision when the VAR was used for two crucial incidents.

Visiting Cruzeiro won the Brazilian Cup for the second consecutive year after its 2-1 victory in Sao Paulo. It could have been a different outcome, though, if the VAR had not been utilised.

Cruzeiro was leading 1-0 when Corinthians midfielder Ralf fell in the penalty box after a challenge from Thiago Neves in the 53rd minute.

Corinthians complained but the referee played on. Two minutes later, the VAR intervened, Magalhaes watched the incident again and, this time, the spot kick was awarded and midfielder Jadson equalized.

Then, in the 69th, Pedrinho lashed the ball into the back of the net from 30 meters (yards) to seemingly make it 2-1 to Corinthians.

The VAR intervened again, however, and Magalhaes decided to disallow the effort, arguing that Jadson had fouled Cruzeiro defender Dede in the lead-up to the goal.

Cameras later showed Dede falling to the ground as the ball hit the net.

Cruzerio scored the winner in the 82nd.

"I am not in favor of the VAR," Cruzeiro midfielder Robinho said. "We had problems with the VAR in the Copa Libertadores (last month) against Boca Juniors, when Dede was sent off after a bizarre decision. It is just not good for the game."

Corinthians chairman Andres Sanchez said the VAR should not be used to judge on refereeing calls that revolve around interpretation.

"I think more clubs agree now that we need to have improvements in our infrastructure and in our referees before having the VAR," Sanchez said.

Other Brazilian clubs have complained this year about the VAR, which was used in the domestic cup and in the Copa Libertadores competition from the quarterfinals stage.

SCALONI'S BIG BLOW

Argentina's 1-0 loss to Brazil on Tuesday did nothing for interim coach Lionel Scaloni's chances of getting the job on a full-time basis.

There are other candidates for the job, but some have already hinted they are not interested.

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino has said 'no' and Diego Simeone, who has a long contract with Atletico Madrid, has also been ruled out.

That may leave Atlanta United's much-traveled Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, who previously coached Barcelona and Paraguay among others, and Argentina from 2014-16, as the No. 1 option.

MORENO HEADBUTTED

Atletico Nacional of Colombia has terminated its contract with striker Dayro Moreno because of frequent indiscipline.

The last straw came on Sunday in the 0-0 draw against Deportivo Cali. Referee Carlos Mario Herrera awarded a free kick to Nacional in the 87th minute and gave the ball to Jeison Lucumi. Moreno took the ball from his teammate, who then headbutted him in the face and was sent off.

Nacional apologized for the incident before deciding to part ways with the 33-year-old Moreno. "This decision deals with repeated mistakes by the player," the club said.

Lucumi was suspended for a week.

Moreno had previous disputes with Argentine teammate Gonzalo Castelani and was also accused of indiscipline by former Nacional coach Jorge Almiron.

Moreno was signed last season from Mexico's Tijuana. In 2017, he was the top scorer in the Apertura tournament with 14 goals.

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