As a teenager, I can recall a song by the pop group 10cc which contained a line that went something like ‘One night in Paris is like a year in any other place’ I never quite understood its meaning until last night.
With the game delicately balanced and with Manchester United needing a late goal to reach the quarter-final stage of the Champions League, the minutes it took between the officials liaising with those who make the VAR decisions seemed like an eternity, as did the moments it took for Marcus Rashford to step forward and send the resulting spot-kick high into the net and Manchester United, subsequently, into the last eight of the Champions League.
The scenes of the Manchester United backroom staff dancing a jig of delight as they celebrated what, before kick-off, had seemed the improbable will stay with me for a long time.
In reaching the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious competition, Manchester United had become the first side to overcome a 2-goal deficit from the home leg of a two-legged tie, quite an achievement in itself.
But, as I lay on my hotel bed, last night, desperately waiting for the adrenalin to die down and slip into a deep sleep, one thought kept repeating itself in my active mind, what if the decision had been the other way around?
What if, amongst all the confusion it had been a United defender who had been harshly adjudged to have handled the ball and we’d sat around for an eternity waiting for Paris Saint-Germain to be awarded a penalty courtesy of VAR?
Can you see what I’m getting at?
Such fine lines separate success from failure in a game that has the ability to keep us all on the edge of our seats.
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