Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was left outraged as his side’s hopes of a late equaliser were dashed by a controversial VAR review by referee Michael Oliver.
Oliver awarded a penalty to Villa in injury-time as they trailed Brighton 2-1, following Solly March’s challenge on Trezeguet.
Replays showed March won the ball but caught the Villa player in the follow-through and Smith was bemused as Stockley Park asked Oliver to check his monitor – leaving the official to overturn his original decision.
Aston Villa saw a late penalty overturned after Solly March tangled with Trezeguet on Saturday
Referee Michael Oliver awarded the spot kick but changed his mind after reviewing the tackle
Late VAR drama at Villa Park…
Aston Villa’s late penalty award has been overturned!
The correct decision or has Solly March got away with one here? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/CyCipGkKND
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 21, 2020
‘I don’t know what a penalty is now. We could all hear the contact inside the ground,’ said Smith.
‘If VAR thinks it’s not a penalty then just tell the referee it’s not a penalty. I am at a loss to explain it if I am honest.
‘I thought VAR was there for clear and obvious. Was it clear and obvious? I am not sure. I don’t know what a free-kick or penalty is now.’
Even Brighton boss Graham Potter said he couldn’t predict the decision.
‘We’ve had four against us this season so I’m not sure what is and what isn’t a penalty these days. I know Solly [March] touched the ball so we’re just happy it went our way this time,’ he said.
Trezeguet fell to the turf theatrically after Brighton man March dangled a leg inside the area
March’s blushes were soon spared, however, with the official deciding to rescind his decision
Villa slumped to their third consecutive home defeat with March scoring the winner after 56 minutes.
‘I am frustrated that we created some big chances and not taken them,’ added Smith. ‘I didn’t think we were at our best but I thought we were good enough to get a point.’
The home side also lost Ross Barkley in the early stages. ‘He felt his hamstring two minutes into the game,’ revealed Smith. ‘We will have to get it scanned to see how it is. He is hopeful it won’t be too bad but we have to wait for the scan.’
The win was Brighton’s first at Villa Park with former England international Danny Welbeck scoring the opening goal and overshadowing man-of-the-moment Jack Grealish.
‘Danny was fantastic. It’s clear he influenced the game and took his goal well,’ said Potter who snapped up Welbeck on a free after he’d been released from Watford.
The only cloud for Brighton was the dismissal of Tariq Lamptey in injury-time. He will now miss next week’s clash against Liverpool after a foul on Grealish near the end.