Fulham manager Marco Silva was left seething over a controversial goal in their 5-1 hammering by Manchester City on Saturday, arguing that it was “a huge mistake” and the turning point of the game, a stance that was backed up by City’s hat-trick scorer Erling Haaland.
Nathan Aké’s headed goal seconds before half-time — and with the game level at 1-1 — looked like it would be disallowed as it appeared that Manuel Akanji was offside in front of keeper Bernd Leno. Akanji jumped to allow the ball to pass between his legs and into the net.
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“That moment made a huge impact. Everyone that plays football, has some knowledge about football, are 100% sure they have to disallow that. It’s impossible to not,” Silva told reporters. “It’s a clear offside, it concerns us how that goal was not disallowed.
“The more you times you see that moment, the more sure you are to disallow it. Our players saw it, everyone on the pitch at that moment has the same opinion.”
Silva waved his arms in disbelief at the officials after VAR ruled it was a goal, while his furious players stomped into the tunnel for the half-time break.
Haaland, named UEFA Player of the Year earlier in the week, turned the game into a rout with his three second-half goals. But he agreed with Silva’s assessment of Aké’s goal, and admitted he would be angry if the situation was reversed.
“It was offside,” Haaland told beIN SPORTS. “I feel bad for them — I would be fuming after this as well. It must be a horrible feeling.”
Fulham captain Tim Ream, who was on target for his team, said the goal changed the tempo of the game.
“You never want to lose a game like that,” Ream told Sky Sports. “We had a good first half and a very much below average second half. We didn’t show the same aggressiveness in the second half and results like that happen.”
Manchester City’s assistant manager Juanma Lillo believed the goal was good, and more definitive than a controversial one Sheffield United scored against them last week.
“It’s good it happened because two similar things have happened,” Lillo told reporters.
“The explanation at Sheffield United we thought was offside, when they gave us the explanation they said it was about being in line with the ball,” added Lillo, who is filling in for Pep Guardiola while he recovers from back surgery.
“I believe today our player was less in line than against Sheffield United.”
The VAR ruling, however, was resoundingly panned on social media.
Broadcaster and former Tottenham defender Michael Dawson said: “I completely disagree with the decision. Completely offside, no wonder Marco Silva’s angry. Leno takes an extra step because he thinks Akanji is going to take an extra touch.”