Controversial refereeing calls rock Europe’s top 5 league this weekend: Lucas Vaquez’s penalty, Lamine Yamal’s, Jack Grealish’s handball and others

Nottingham Forest players; Hudson Odoi and Chris Wood argue with Anthony Taylor during the Everton vs Nottingham Forest Clash
As the dust settles on another weekend of exhilarating football action across Europe's top five leagues, contentious refereeing decisions have once again taken center stage.

From penalty calls to offside rulings, some referees in their match officiating have sparked intense debate among fans, players, and pundits alike.

In a bid to take apart the most controversial moments of the weekend, Ballgist’s expert analysis sheds light on the key referee decisions that have left supporters divided and emotions running high.

Pau Cubarsi’s tackle on Lucas Vasquez

In the third El Clasico of the season at Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid‘s Lucas Vasquez found himself at the center of controversy when he went down in the box, claiming a penalty after tripping on Barcelona‘s Pau Cubarsi’s foot in the 16th minute.

Pau Cubarsi's tackle on Lucas Vasquez in the first half is deemed a penalty by Cesar Soto Grado
Pau Cubarsi’s tackle on Lucas Vasquez in the first half

The decision divided fans and pundits into several opinions, with some arguing it was a clear foul, while others believed Vasquez initiated the contact.

Referee says no goal from Lamine Yamal’s shot

Lamine Yamal flicks on a corner from Raphinha at the near post range as he struck the ball towards the bottom right corner.

A contentious moment unfolded as Lamine Yamal struck ball appeared to cross the line but referee Cesar Soto Grado and his team once again decided there was no clear angle to indicate it was a goal with the goal-line technology sparking debate over whether the entire ball crossed the line.

Lamine Yamal flicks the ball onto the goal from Raphinha's corner.
Freeze frame of  Lamine Yamal’s shot towards the goal in the 26th minute

Referees deliberated over the decision, with both teams anxiously awaiting the verdict.

Aside from that, Javier Tebas has blood on his hands though for refusing to spend on Goal Line Technology as Spain is the only top five European League that does not utilize the technology.

Grealish’s handball from Palmer’s Freekick

In a tightly contested  FA Cup semi-final match, Manchester City‘s Jack Grealish found himself under scrutiny when the ball struck his arm in the penalty area from a freekick from Chelsea‘s Cole Palmer.

Jack Grealish touches the ball in the penalty box from Cole Palmer's Freekick with the Referee or VAR uninterested.
Jack Grealish’s hand touches the ball in the penalty box from Cole Palmer’s freekick

The referee’s decision to neither award a penalty nor a corner makes the decision-making from Micheal Oliver and video assistant referee David Coote rather surprising at the moment.

Coventry city’s offside goal ruled out by VAR referee

After a stunning comeback from Coventry city from being three goals-down moments in the match against Manchester United to force the game into extra-time, the Championship side seemed to have completed the comeback and sealed a place in the FA Cup final.

Var lines indicating that Haji Wright was offside in the build up to Coventry's fourth goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Manchester United
VAR lines indicating that Haji Wright was offside in the build-up to Coventry’s fourth goal

However, the celebrations were short-lived as VAR drew the lines and Hajj Wright was deemed to have been offside in the buildup.

Referee waves play-on to Ashley Young’s tackle on Hudson Odoi

Ashley Young made a sliding challenge on Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 56th minute in the penalty box failing to make contact with the ball but was waved on by Referee Anthony Taylor.

VAR official Stuart Atwell also upon review incredulously failed to call Anthony Taylor’s attention to the incident. The referee’s decision would have significant implications on the match as Everton went on to get a second against Nottingham Forest effectively ending the game as a contest.

Ashley Young tackles Callum Hudson-Odoi in the Penalty area during Everton vs Forest

The Everton defender also got on another handball incident as the ball made contact with his arm inside the penalty area in an unnatural position too earlier in the game, but in another blunder of a decision, the referee not the VAR chose to ignore and continued the game.

The referee might not have gotten a clear view of the contact in this case, but the VAR Stuart Atwell should have asked him to see the pitchside monitor to make his own decision.

The weekend’s football action was marked by several controversial refereeing decisions across Europe’s top five leagues.

Some calls were deemed correct, while others stirred debate and disagreement among fans, players, and pundits alike. These incidents underscore the importance of fair and consistent officiating in the beautiful game.

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