Rabiot aims Barca dig after video replay controversy

Date published: Wednesday 29th March 2017 10:20

Video replays took centre stage as Spain beat France 2-0 in a friendly at the Stade de France.

German referee Felix Zwayer made full use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system being trialled by FIFA as an opening goal for the hosts was disallowed for offside, while an incorrect flag against Gerard Deulofeu for Spain’s second strike was overturned.

Les Bleus saw a close-range header from Antoine Griezmann at the start of the second half ruled out – albeit for a correct marginal offside call in the build-up after the referee had been alerted by the VAR.

Spain eventually took the lead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute when Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny tripped Deulofeu and Manchester City’s David Silva converted to move into fourth in his country’s all-time scoring list with a 30th international goal.

The VAR was required again with 12 minutes left after Deulofeu, on loan at AC Milan from Everton, scored with a low shot at the far post.

The flag went up from the assistant referee for offside, but after a delay while replays were checked, the goal stood and Spain could celebrate.

France midfielder Adrien Rabiot could not disguise his dissatisfaction after the game.

“Video technology could have helped us against Barcelona a few weeks ago. Seriously,” said the PSG star, who saw his side eliminated from the Champions League after a number of contentious decisions helped Barcelona to a dramatic 6-1 win a couple of weeks ago.

There was no such drama at the Amsterdam ArenA, where Italy beat Holland 2-1 in the first match since the sacking of Oranje head coach Danny Blind.

The Dutch are in real danger of again falling to qualify for a major tournament after a 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria on Saturday left them off the pace in Group A and cost Blind his job.

Holland, with former Dutch Under-21 coach Fred Grim in charge, got off to a flying start when they went ahead through on own goal by Italy defender Alessio Romagnoli.

However, the Azzurri quickly equalised through Inter Milan forward Eder and went into the break ahead through Leonardo Bonucci, which proved enough for victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring but could not prevent Portugal losing 3-2 in his home town of Funchal in Madeira following a late own-goal from Joao Cancelo.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal the lead from close range after 18 minutes, before Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist put the ball into his own net 16 minutes later.

However, after Portugal made several changes, Viktor Claesson reduced the deficit just before the hour and then equalised with 14 minutes left, before Cancelo knocked a cross from Sweden left-back Niklas Hult past goalkeeper Jose Carlos Marafona in stoppage time.

World Cup hosts Russia came from 3-1 down to snatch a draw with Belgium in Sochi, where Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke scored twice.

Russia took an early lead after just three minutes through Viktor Vasin before Everton midfielder Kevin Mirallas equalised from the penalty spot in the 17th minute.

Benteke nodded Belgium back in front after 42 minutes and then extended the lead just before half-time when he headed in Nacer Chadli’s free-kick.

Aleksey Miranchuk reduced the deficit with 15 minutes left and substitute Aleksandr Bukharov netted a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time.

The Cape Verde Islands recorded a 2-0 win at Luxembourg, who had performed well in their World Cup qualifying defeat to France, while Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic was on target as Austria drew 1-1 with Finland in Innsbruck.

Elsewhere in Tuesday’s earlier matches, Roma forward Edin Dzeko opened the scoring from the penalty spot as Bosnia-Herzegovina won 2-1 in Albania while an experimental Croatia side were beaten 3-0 by Estonia in Tallinn.

A second-half brace from captain Goran Pandev helped Macedonia beat Belarus 3-0 in Skopje while Georgia thumped Latvia 5-0 in Tbilisi.


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