Manchester City were thankful to goalline technology as they secured a vital win at Burnley on Sunday.
Sergio Aguero’s 63rd-minute goal was not the first time hi-tech equipment has played a hand in City’s season.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at examples of where technology has shaped City’s remarkable campaign.
Sunday’s narrow 1-0 victory took City back to the top of the Premier League with just two games remaining. City knew anything less than three points would hand the initiative in the title race back to Liverpool. The win was secured by a tiny margin, with Aguero’s scrambled goal on a tense afternoon at Turf Moor ruled to have crossed the line by a mere 29.51mm.
The margins were even tighter when City hosted Liverpool in a crunch clash early in the new year. Pep Guardiola’s men prevailed 2-1 in a nervy encounter at the Etihad Stadium but Liverpool could count themselves unlucky after John Stones produced a dramatic goalline clearance to prevent an own goal. The information from the goal decision system showed that the ball had failed to cross the line by just 11.2mm.
The use of VAR was instrumental in ending City’s bid for a quadruple. Sterling thought he had settled a compelling quarter-final tie with what would have been his hat-trick goal in the dramatic closing minutes of the second leg at the Etihad Stadium. Yet as City celebrated wildly and Spurs players slumped to the ground, the big screen indicated a review was being carried out. After a delay it was eventually determined Aguero had strayed offside in the build-up. The party was quickly deflated.
The ruling out of Sterling’s late strike meant that Llorente’s earlier effort, which made the score 4-4 on aggregate and gave Spurs the edge on away goals, proved decisive. This goal also required much review after the ball appeared to brush the Spaniard’s arm before bouncing into the goal off his hip. Although debate continued over whether the VAR reviewed the best angles, Llorente was eventually given the benefit of the doubt and the goal stood.
There have also been some other incidents which ultimately did not prove pivotal. City were controversially awarded a penalty for handball in the first leg of their Champions League clash with Spurs only for Aguero to miss while Schalke were also given a debatable spot-kick in the first leg of the ultimately one-sided last-16 tie. Meanwhile, the lack of VAR probably helped City in their 3-2 FA Cup quarter-final win at Swansea. There was debate over the penalty which allowed City to equalise and replays showed Aguero was offside before heading the winner.