Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso goal was rejected vs. Real Madrid by VAR, but was there a handball? Tuchel, experts say their opinion

Chelsea produced one of the greatest away performances in the Champions League in their history when Thomas Tuchel’s team completely reversed their quarter-final series at Real Madrid. But the Blues eventually fell short and were eliminated from the competition after extra time.

Despite trailing 3-1 from the first game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel urged his players to write a new chapter in the history of Madrid, and his stars responded.

Goals on both sides of the break from Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger equalized the series overall, but they were followed by one of the turning points as the visitors sought to take control of the series in the Spanish capital.

The most important moment of controversy came after 61 minutes when Marcos Alonso’s arrowhead was finally ruled out after a video review at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

MORE: Real Madrid vs. Chelsea updates and highlights

The Alonso goal could have momentarily brought Chelsea 4-3 overall and given Real Madrid a serious blow to their hopes of success.

See the goal in the US:

See the goal in the UK:

Why was the Alonso target ruled out?

As the traveling Chelsea fans celebrated high up in the stands, referee Szymon Marciniak was immediately signaled by VAR to watch the video due to a possible handball against Alonso before his shot in the top corner.

Repetitions seemed to suggest that the ball touched Alonso’s hand in the Real Madrid field. The power of N’Golo Kante’s pass into him sent the ball ricocheting up and possibly onto the Spaniard’s hand.

Marciniak made his decision within less than 60 seconds after consulting the course’s monitor before ruling out the goal.

The Alonso goal would have brought Chelsea to 3-0 in the match and 4-3 overall. When Chelsea’s Timo Werner also later found the back of the net in the 75th minute, Chelsea’s total goals across both legs would have seen them advance to the semi-finals after 90 minutes of regulation.

But as the score remained 2-0 (3-3 overall) after Alonso’s goal was rejected, the next two goals by Chelsea’s Timo Werner and Real Madrid’s Rodrygo made it 3-1 in the match. It reflected the result from the first match and thus sent the series into extra time, with Karim Benzema scoring again to knock Chelsea out.

Here is the order of goals in the second match (overall goal in brackets after Real Madrid’s victory in the first match):

  • 15 min: Mason Mount (Real Madrid 3, Chelsea 2 on agg.)
  • 51 min: Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid 3, Chelsea 3 on agg.)
  • 61 min: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea 4, Real Madrid 3 on agg.)
  • 75th min: Timo Werner (Chelsea 4, Real Madrid 3 on agg.)
  • 80 min: Rodrygo (Real Madrid 4, Chelsea 4 on agg.)
  • 96th min: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid 5, Chelsea 4 on agg.)

What is the handball rule in the laws of the game?

On BT Sports’ coverage of the match in the UK, former Premier League referee Peter Walton was not so sure of the call immediately after and before the match referee made his final decision:

“We know that the law says that if the ball touches the hand, even if it is an accident, the goal will be rejected – if it is by the goal scorer.

“When I look at the pictures here, I can not see the clear evidence required for VAR to overthrow this target. Whether they look from different angles or not, I do not know, but at the moment I think this target should stand.”

Christina Unkel, a VAR-certified professional referee and former FIFA referee who has refereed football for 21 years, gave her analysis of the incident for CBS Sports in the USA.

“This was obvious to us as officials,” Unkel said. “It is 100 percent correct to overturn this with VAR and recommend without goals.

“The small touch on his right hand is a reminder that the law says and indicates that a goal scored directly or immediately after a handling offense by that attacker will be rejected and is not a good goal.

“Some would argue that this was a little unfair, but this was the correct call for this.”

Page 98 of the game’s laws 2021-22 states that:

It’s a foul if a player … scores in the opponents’ goal:

  • directly from their hand / arm, even if that is the case, also by the goalkeeper
  • immediately after the ball has touched their hand / arm, even if this is the case.

What did Tuchel say after the match?

Here is what Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is said to have said in the wake of the match:

Social media reaction to the decision

There were arguments made on both sides, with a few more expressing outrage that that goal was not allowed to stand.

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