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VAR farce denied West Ham’s Antonio his crowning glory

PUBLISHED: 12:30 17 December 2019

Referee Martin Atkinson (centre) talks to West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) after his goal is disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

Referee Martin Atkinson (centre) talks to West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) after his goal is disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers front man deserved a goal after swashbuckling display at Southampton

West Ham United's Michail Antonio celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides second goal before the goal was disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.West Ham United's Michail Antonio celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides second goal before the goal was disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

interpretation of the laws that VAR give us in the Premier League that great moments like Michail Antonio's goal at Southampton can be disallowed.

Like an unstoppable bulldozer, the West Ham striker ploughed through the Southampton defence, rode tackles and then had the balance and poise to thump home his shot.

It would have made it 2-0 and all those late nerves could have been avoided, but VAR decided that because the ball had been kicked at Antonio's arm from point blank range, the goal should have been disallowed.

What a travesty! This is surely not why VAR was brought in and it marred what had been a brilliant match-winning display from the front man.

If West Ham had not held on for the victory then it would have been down to that decision and though Antonio was putting a brave face on things, it was clear where his thoughts were.

"If I had no arms, I'd have three goals in four games!" he said after the 1-0 win st St Mary's.

West Ham United's Michail Antonio (right) ahead of scoring his second goal which was later disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.West Ham United's Michail Antonio (right) ahead of scoring his second goal which was later disallowed during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

"It's just one of those things where VAR is killing me right now, but hopefully these handballs and these disallowed goals can turn into goals later in the season!"

Very diplomatic, but he must have been fuming. There was nothing he could do about it. He could not get his arm out of the way and it was down by his side. It should have been allowed.

It would have crowned what was a spectacular performance from the 29-year-old. In partnership with Sebastien Haller up front, he caused havoc in the fragile Southampton defence.

It was he who kept the ball in play on the byline which led to the goal for Haller and his running into the channels and sheer pace was a delight to watch.

He was certainly pleased with the way the day went.

"We were great," he insisted. "We had some real good opportunities we didn't take, but there were loads of positives."

Manager Manuel Pellegrini was full of praise for the striker and his partnership with Haller.

"Both of them worked very well attacking," said the boss.

"We knew Southampton were a team who concede goals and they both had different actions - one inside the box and the other running into space.

"Michail demonstrates every time he plays that he's an important player. We know he makes an impact because of his power."

Antonio is now looking for the team to go on a good run.

"You can see the positives coming from the performances in the last four games and hopefully we can that into points," he said.

As long as he stays fit and flying, there is no reason why that can't happen.


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