Brentford 0-0 Brighton: Visitors denied penalty as ref overrules VAR review in stalemate

by 24britishtvApril 4, 2024, midnight 20
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Referee Andy Madley stuck to his guns to ignore a VAR review and deny Brighton a penalty in a 0-0 draw at Brentford which keeps them outside the European spots.

Madley was called to the review monitor in first-half added time by VAR Michael Oliver after Lewis Dunk was hauled to the ground by Yoane Wissa inside his own area.

But he surprised many inside the Gtech Community Stadium by keeping with his on-field decision after ruling the Brighton defender had initiated contact.
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That was the main talking point of a game with plenty at stake but little clear desire to commit to a victory which would have all-but secured Brentford's safety, and taken Brighton back up to seventh.

Ivan Toney missed Brentford's best chance of the game when he fired off-balance into Bart Verbruggen's arms after half an hour, while Brighton failed to threaten until second-half added time despite racking up 22 shots.

Danny Welbeck should have won the game in the second minute of stoppage time when a flick-on sent him clear over the halfway line.

His wayward finish allowed Brentford to move a point closer to safety, while Brighton remain behind West Ham and Newcastle in ninth.

Thomas Frank resisted the urge to reunite his attacking triumvirate of Wissa, Toney and Bryan Mbeumo for the first time this season by naming an unchanged team aimed at stifling Brighton and hitting on the break.

Things played out as he may have expected from the off, with the Seagulls controlling possession and territory without testing Mark Flekken, while Wissa came close at the end of a flowing counter-attack by shooting wide.

Toney at least tested Verbruggen soon after when fed by his strike partner, but the half looked to be ebbing out without further incident until VAR's late intervention.

A Brighton corner was cleared without much notice from the away side, but Madley stopped the restart when the ball next went out of play to visit the VAR review monitor after he was alerted to a potential penalty by Oliver.

It took little time for the referee to go against the video official's recommendations, though, after spotting Wissa had been tugged by Dunk first before pulling the Brighton defender down in the box himself. He was followed down the tunnel at half-time by a number of irate Seagulls players, including Dunk.

The second half barely became more of an event than the first, as Brentford struggled to link up in the opposition half and Brighton continued to toil despite their superior possession.

They finally threatened in the dying moments when Joao Pedro spun and saw a dangerous looking shot deflected wide, before Welbeck nodded the resulting corner past the near post.

The striker still had time for another chance which should have stolen the points in added time, when Julio Enciso's nod set him clear over the halfway line.

But, with only Flekken to beat, he planted his shot wide from a tight angle as Brighton's hopes of ending the night back in the European spots went up in smoke.

Frank: If you can't win, don't lose

Brentford manager Thomas Frank: "I think it was a good point. A well-deserved point, not a lucky point. It was one we have missed a lot of times this season - if you can't win, don't lose.

"We got a clean sheet, we haven't had too many of them. That was well deserved, they had plenty of shots but many outside the box. I don't think Mark [Flekken] had a really tough save.

"In terms of the defensive mindset, we're normally good at defending and there's been spells this season we have made too many mistakes. It was really good today and against Man Utd as well.

"It was a fairly even game, they had more of the ball but it could have gone either way."

On the VAR review: "Fantastic decision. I just spoke to the referees, as far as I know it's the protocol the VAR had to ask him to go to the screen.

"Even though it's clearly a foul on Wissa first, it's just part of the protocol. Between them, it worked well. It's good, Andy was good today overall. There was a lot of tricky situations but he was good."

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi: "I'm really pleased with the performance, we played as true Brighton, as we did against Liverpool.

"I'm disappointed with the result - we shot 24 times, we created six clear chances to score. Eleven shots on target, but we didn't score. We're disappointed, in our heads we lost two points."

On the VAR review: "The referee was correct, maybe the decision was correct. My assistant told me at the beginning Dunk made a foul, but I've not seen the referee go to the screen and then change the VAR's decision before. I've learned something new today."

Brentford play again on Saturday in the Premier League, travelling to Aston Villa; kick-off 3pm.

Brighton also play on Saturday Night Football, taking on Arsenal live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.

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