A former Premier League referee has explained why Karim Benzema’s goal in the UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool was disallowed.
Benzema thought he had given La Liga champions Real Madrid the lead shortly before the break but the offside flag was raised, much to the relief of Liverpool.
The in-form forward controlled a high ball into the box and then took a couple of touches before trying to round Alisson Becker.
Benzema eventually lost control of the ball but Ibrahima Konate and Alisson made a mess of the clearance. Three players then challenged for the ball and it came back to Benzema who hit the ball beyond Alisson.
Though, Real Madrid’s celebrations were cut short as the linesman raised his flag for offside, but replays showed Fabinho got the last touch before Benzema’s goal.
That appeared to mean VAR would overturn the decision but Madrid were left disappointed as the referee said the goal was disallowed.
Explaining the decision at half-time, former referee Peter Walton told BT Sport: ‘It is easy. Benzema is in an offside position. The offence is committed if the ball is deliberately played back to him.
‘Fabinho, the ball deflects off him, he doesn’t deliberately play the ball to him. He doesn’t play Benzema onside. It’s only deemed onside if the Liverpool player has deliberately played it.’
While it appears that the correct decision was made, a number of former players were surprised and confused by the incident.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said: ‘I still don’t understand it. If I am a Real Madrid player, I am going bananas.’
Alan Shearer added on BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I can’t work that one out because it looked like it came off Fabinho to reach Benzema.
‘It was typical Real Madrid, they do concede chances and if you don’t take them they punish you with the ability they have up front. ‘The run in behind was exceptional and he could have scored earlier. Liverpool got away with one there.’
Despite the scare just before the break, Liverpool dominated the opening 45 minutes of the final but were unable to turn their superiority into a lead.
Eventually Vinicius Junior scored the only goal of the game in the second half to crown Real Madrid European champions.