Watch as referee Christina Unkel dissects contentious VAR decisions involving Harry Kane of Tottenham and a Leverkusen handball.


After games on Matchday 5 that included late drama and VAR use, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid were both eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday. Tottenham’s match against Olympique Marseille on Matchday 6 will be their final opportunity to advance after drawing Sporting Lisbon 1-1 in London. With their 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen at home, Atletico Madrid has already been eliminated from the main European competition.

But what specifically occurred?

Harry Kane was somewhat deemed to be offside.

The match between Tottenham Spurs and Sporting CP came to an extraordinary conclusion with a goal from Kane for the home club, who came so close to advancing to the round of 16. Marcus Edwards scored the only goal for Antonio Conte’s team in the first half, and Rodrigo Bentancur, a former midfielder for Juventus, scored the equalizer with a header in the second. Kane scored a close-range goal for Spurs in the last seconds as they battled for the victory, but the VAR disallowed it despite it appearing to be on.

Now that we have semi-automated offside technology, she explained, they start tracking the line as soon as the player touches the ball. “They follow the path taken by the ball. We draw the line whenever the player touches the ball, and it’s critical to get the right frame because if we get it one or two frames early, he’s onside.”

In the last moments, it appeared as though Tottenham had won.

Atletico Madrid was handed a penalty shot, but they missed it.

What occurred in the final second of the game at the Wanda Metropolitano was even more unexpected. Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen’s game was called off when the referee blew the final whistle. The VAR then brought the referee back to check for a possible handball penalty.

Atletico is out after the last horn sounds. When VAR detects a handball, Atletico Madrid is awarded a penalty. Saul strikes the crossbar while Yannick Carrasco watches his penalty saved!

Atletico is DONE!

According to Unkel in this instance, “The rule is applied in a very rigorous manner. These officials are UEFA officials and will now be subject to FIFA interpretations, which are also highly strict about handballs. Here, we’re referring to the initial handball contact rather than the subsequent one where the arm is raised and touches the hand. The first one is what we refer to as a purposeful handling infraction, whereas the second one is natural.”

Unkel responded that “as soon as the kick is taken we talk about extending the time and that play needs to be completed” when asked why the referee allowed them to even try a rebound when it was clearly over.

Atleti tried three times, but all they managed to get was a seat at home for the knockout rounds.