Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard lamented a “tough” VAR penalty decision after his side gave up the lead to suffer a 3-1 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace.
Referee Andy Madley pointed to the spot at Selhurst Park after looking at footage of Marc Guehi’s header touching Lucas Digne’s outstretched arm.
Wilfried Zaha rebounded from the resulting penalty – his second goal of the afternoon – before substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta’s first touch of the ball sealed the Eagles’ first win of the season.
“Some people will say, ‘That’s the rules, that’s definitely a pen, that’s a stonewall pen,'” said Gerrard, whose side put Ollie Watkins ahead in the fifth minute.
“It’s tough for me. I’m not sure what Lucas can do about the situation. He honestly tries to fight for the ball, he naturally tries to jump.
“He’s not trying to gain an advantage or stop the header on goal. It’s a complete accident.
“The referee goes to the monitor, puts a pen against us, our reaction from that moment wasn’t good enough and then obviously we concede a bad third goal and the game runs away from you.”
After taking the lead through England striker Watkins, Villa was pushed back almost immediately as the impressive Zaha charged forward to deliver an angled drive home in the seventh minute.
Palace then had a Jeffrey Schlupp goal disallowed for offside after another VAR intervention before Villa winger Leon Bailey hit the bar early in the second half.
While the visitors celebrated being saved by Stockley Park support in the first half, they soon lamented it when Zaha knocked the Eagles forward after Emiliano Martinez parried his first try before Mateta immediately turned in a batting effort to crown a miserable trip to south London.
“The moments went against us today and we have to accept that,” said Gerrard, whose side beat Everton last week after losing their opening weekend at newly promoted Bournemouth.
“I feel like we took a big step forward last week and a big step backwards today.
“The challenge for me and the players is that we have to find better consistency. I’ve been saying that since I walked in. We’re not there yet, but we’ll keep striving for it.”
Palace manager Patrick Vieira hailed “one of the best” performances of his tenure after edging through his formidable fellow midfielders.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “Today we showed a really good performance. We played very intensely from the first minute to the last and I was really proud of the players.
“It’s one of the most consistent performances we’ve had from start to finish.
“We were very disciplined, the players fought in every position. It’s one of the best performances, I would say.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/steven-gerrard-patrick-vieira-var-emiliano-martinez-wilfried-zaha-b2149255.html Total accident – Steven Gerrard laments VAR decision in Palace defeat