No VAR but goal disallowed in Chennaiyin-Kerala Blasters ISL game

The referee had wrongly awarded a free-kick in favour of Chennaiyin after what appeared to be a foul from Anirudh Thapa on Kerala's Seityasen Singh.

Both Kerala Blasters players protest with the referee over the refereeing decision.   -  R. RAGU

A moment of refereeing madness marred the first half of the Indian Super League (ISL) match between Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.

Referee Om Prakash Thakur incorrectly awarded a free-kick in favour of Chennaiyin after what appeared to be a foul from Anirudh Thapa on Seityasen Singh. Nerijus Valskis quickly restarted play which set Chennaiyin on a counter-attack against a flat-footed Blasters defence, which seemed stunned by the decision.

Andre Schembri squared the ball across the face of the goal for Valskis to tap the ball into the net. The referee signalled the goal which sparked a huge brawl among both sets of players in protest against the match officials.

The decision infuriated the Blasters players and coaching staff as they remonstrated with Thakur and the fourth official Ashwin. On consultation with his assistant referee, Thakur overturned the goal and change the decision to a free-kick for the away side.

Play resumed after a period of five minutes and Chennaiyin immediately went up the pitch again and scored again through Lallianzuala Chhangte.

Follow the highlights of the dramatic Southern Derby as it happened here.

Chennaiyin FC subsequently went on to win the game 3-1, powered by goals from Schembri, Valskis and Chhangte. Bartholomew Ogbeche scored Kerala's solitary goal in this game.

What the rules say

According to the International Football Association Board, here is what the rules of the game state with regard to a referee's power to change his/her decision:

Law no.5 - Decisions of the referee

The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.

The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected.

The referee may not change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or on the advice of another match official if play has restarted or the referee has signalled the end of the first or second half (including extra time) and left the field of play or terminated the match.

This dramatic turn of events is the latest in a long list of refereeing howlers through the season. The incident also has fans and pundits questioning why a consultation among the match officials was not done before the free kick was incorrectly taken by the host.

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