Gonzalo Montiel spliced the volley ball at the far post after a magnificent center from Fabrizio Angileri and the whole River came out to celebrate the goal that made it 3-0 against Palmeiras and equalized the series in São Paulo, in a feat very difficult to imagine before the match. And what was impossible to imagine at that moment was that all that joy was going to have to go back.
No one in Palmeiras had protested, but suddenly the Uruguayan referee Esteban Ostojich began to receive messages from the VAR booth asking him to wait to resume play. Then there were the scenes of tension that became common in recent times in games in which technology is used. Nobody understood where the doubt could be, but suddenly the worst suspicions of Marcelo Gallardo’s men were confirmed: the referee annulled the goal for an offside. What had happened?
In the resolution of the play, it was determined that there was no forward position neither of Montiel nor – although in that case it would have to have been studied if he had gravitation in the play – of Rafael Borré in the center of the attack. But the unknown ended up being revealed when television went a little further back in the repetitions.
At the beginning of the play, when Enzo Pérez faced towards the Palmeiras area, he collided with the defenders and left the ball dead near the crescent. It was then that Borré, returning from the forward position, captured the ball and circulated it. It was a millimetric VAR play and that had to be seen with a magnifying glass at the moment in which a Palmeiras defender ended up rejecting the ball and bouncing off the River midfielder.
An off-side that was practically impossible to perceive under normal conditions, with the help of technology prevented River’s celebration. The same tool that they so confronted him that had favored him in the past, this time deprived him of a great celebration.
River was drowned again the celebration a few minutes later when the Uruguayan Ostojich backed down in his decision of a penalty that he had charged for a foul by Alan to Matias Suarez that did not exist. The head referee had been wrong. The VAR alerted him and corrected it. In River, they were already flying from the fight.
Later, Ostojich expelled Robert Rojas for a double yellow correctly but did not see a penalty that goalkeeper Weverton committed to Paulo Díaz. After a cross, the Palmeiras goalkeeper hit the Chilean’s face with his fists. The VAR did not warn anything, the play was resumed immediately with a corner from River and everything continued.
The VAR did call Ostojich again to review a play for an alleged penalty against Borré that was not. The Uruguayan was fine in not charging it because the Colombian had been lawfully taken out with the body.