Neither Steve Cooper nor Thomas Frank were happy with the match officials after this draw. The former – Nottingham Forest’s manager – felt his team should not have been reduced to 10 men and the other was upset that his side were not awarded a penalty, to ramp up the pressure on referees after failings on Saturday.
Moussa Niakhaté kicked off nine minutes of drama on an otherwise sedate occasion when he was given a second yellow card for raking his studs down Yoane Wissa’s calf. This was soon followed by Christian Nørgaard and Nico Domínguez exchanging headed goals to ensure a fair draw.
Wissa was earlier at the heart of another controversial moment when he was brought down in the box after dispossessing goalkeeper Matt Turner but nothing was given on the pitch nor by the video referees. There were also two potential handball offences by Forest in the first half which were waved away. “I am tired of talking about it [VAR],” Frank, Brentford’s manager, said.
“I think the two handballs, some managers will claim them as penalties but if they were given against my team, I’d be annoyed. I think the Wissa one is a clear penalty, you can’t go through the back. That is an error from VAR – it is clear and obvious. Maybe our players need to be a bit more nasty [with officials].”
Steve Cooper admitted that the PGMOL is “going through a difficult time” after another weekend dominated by controversy, mistakes and confusion in the Premier League.
Cooper, the Nottingham Forest head coach, believes the referees’ body needs urgent help from managers and clubs following another contest plagued by incidents. Brentford’s Thomas Frank was unhappy with a “clear mistake” from the Var after a second-half foul on forward Yoane Wissa, while Forest escaped retrospective punishment after two alleged handballs in their penalty area.
Cooper was also frustrated with the dismissal of centre-back Moussa Niakhate, which left Forest having to defend for 46 minutes with ten men.
The weekend had already seen Darren England, the Var at Saturday’s Tottenham v Liverpool clash, removed from fourth-official duties at the City Ground while Dan Cook, his assistant Var, was also dropped following an error involving Luis Diaz.
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper said officials had failed to get the key decisions right once again on Sunday, as criticism of referees’ body PGMOL following a succession of controversial calls showed no signs of tapering off.
VAR officials Darren England and Dan Cook were replaced for two games after Liverpool wrongly had a goal disallowed in their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, with PGMOL saying the decision was a result of “a significant error”.
Liverpool said “sporting integrity has been undermined” by the VAR mistake.
With officials under even more scrutiny on Sunday, Cooper was upset with the decision to send Moussa Niakhate off in their 1-1 draw with Brentford.
Amid the many storylines that ran through this match, VAR stood above them all yet again.
The video technology is there to eliminate controversy yet it has simply increased it, with this time Brentford feeling they had a raw deal.
On another day, the Bees might have had two penalties. One in first-half stoppage time when the ball clipped Forest midfielder Nicolas Dominguez’s hand as he jumped with arms outstretched, and a second soon after the break for a challenge by goalkeeper Matt Turner on Yoane Wissa. Dominguez was not punished because his hand was deemed to be close enough to his body when he leapt, while Turner’s lunge at Wissa was checked and cleared.
Steve Cooper rounded on referee Paul Tierney for a ‘lack of football understanding’ after Moussa Diakhate’s sending-off.
The Nottingham Forest boss was upset with the official over his decision to award a second booking to the left-back 10 minutes into the second half. Diakhate received a yellow card on the half-hour for a crude lunge at Mathias Jensen near Forest’s left flank.
But he then caught Yoane Wissa’s ankle in another clumsy challenge – and Tierney felt it warranted another caution – leading to the player’s dismissal.
Cooper has already had one run-in with officialdom this season – Forest sent a letter of complaint to the referees’ body the PGMOL after a controversial afternoon against Manchester United at Old Trafford – and he was clearly upset after the 1-1 draw with Brentford.