Chris Foy is absolutely right when he says that Liverpool were right to be awarded a penalty for Moussa Sissoko’s handball in the Champions League final.
Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, the former Premier League referee said that Damir Skomina was “spot on” with his call not even a minute into the Madrid showpiece.
“It was an incredible start to a Champions League final and the referee – and VAR – got it absolutely spot on,” Foy wrote. “It was tough on Moussa Sissoko and tough on Spurs but the bottom line is that Damir Skomina got the big call right.
“Sadio Mane’s cross hit Sissoko on the arm because the Tottenham man put his arm out. He effectively made his body unnaturally bigger and because of that the referee has to award a penalty.”
Foy is exactly right here on both counts; that it was a fast and frantic start, but also that there was no doubt about the penalty call.
It was very tough on Spurs to have this call go against them so early on. They would have had a game plan and to have that thrown out the window so early on definitely took the wind out of their sails.
But it was the right call to make by Skomina, because Sissoko’s arm was clearly away from his side and was in an unnatural position, which is usually the criteria VAR referees use to decide on such calls.
If Sissoko had kept his arm by his side when trying to block Sadio Mane’s cross, the Frenchman could perhaps have got away with it, but the fact that his arm was nowhere near his side and the ball hit his arm left the referee with no option but to award the penalty.
On the face of it, it was a poor performance from both sides in Madrid but when Liverpool got their two chances, they took them in clinical fashion and in a final, the result is all that matters.
Following the goal, Spurs settled the better out of the two sides and had Sissoko not given away the first-minute penalty, Mauricio Pochettino’s men could have had a much better night.