In Wednesday’s FIFA World Club Cup semi-final clash between Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai awarded a historic penalty to the Japanese side after using video assistant referee technology officially for the first time in a competitive match.
From a freekick into the penalty area, Antlers fullback Daigo Nishi was fouled by Atletico’s Orlando Berrio, with a trip at the far post. Initially Kassai did not see the incident, however, assistant referee Danny Makkelie alerted him to a potential “match-changing” situation. With play stopped, Kassai made his way over to the sidelines to consult with the technology, and watch the action over again. Spotting the foul after around a 30 second delay, the Hungarian official duly blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot.
“This is the first-ever live trial with video assistant referees at a FIFA competition so this is something that is new for everyone – especially to see the referee run to the video replay area at the side of the field,” Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Head of Refereeing, said after the game. “In the incident tonight, the communication between the referee and the video assistant referee was clear, the technology worked well, and ultimately the final decision was taken by the referee, which will always be the case since the video assistant referees are only there to support”, he added.
After taking the lead with the historic penalty in the first half, Kashima Antlers scored two more goals after the break to sink Atletico Nacional and secure their place in the final of the tournament.