Premier League admit offside mistake for Man City goal
More offside controversy involving Manchester City, less comments about officials getting juggling balls for Christmas
Oh, here we go again. Another week, more offside controversy relating to a Manchester City goal. This time, there's not even any talk of genuinely funny remarks made by a manager to the fourth official to lighten the mood a bit.
Unlike last week's opener against Aston Villa, it's hard to argue that City's second goal of the night at The Hawthorns on Tuesday would have had any real impact on the outcome. West Brom had been thumped 5-0 by full-time, four of City's goal scored in the first half. Aside from their first goal, courtesy of Ilkay Gundogan, City had already had several clear sights of goal before Joao Cancelo doubled their lead.
Nevertheless, West Brom were incensed that the goal was allowed to stand after assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis raised her flag for an offside against Bernardo Silva seconds before the ball found its way to Cancelo.
About as casual a finish as you'll ever see! 😆
A magnificent strike from João Cancelo for his first Premier League goal 👏 pic.twitter.com/ebsBk9OVCq
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 26, 2021
At this point, some of Sam Allardyce's side momentarily stopped, pointing at the flag. The referee's whistle only came after the ball had been tucked away into the goal, with the VAR review concluding that Bernardo had been marginally onside all along. Play to the whistle, lads.
However, West Brom's players do have a right to feel aggrieved. Premier League rules state that, since VAR came along, assistant refs should keep their flags down if there is a goalscoring opportunity. That way, VAR can decide whether an offside goal was actually on, thus preventing any perfectly legitimate goals being ruled out.
The Premier League have now acknowledged that on this occasion, there was a mistake, telling BBC Radio Manchester (via the Manchester Evening News) that the flag should not have been lifted until the play had come to an end.
City's win takes them to the top of the Premier League, if only for 24 hours. Manchester United can leapfrog them if they beat Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.