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Rediff.com  » Sports » Infantino defends referee for awarding Barca questionable penalty

Infantino defends referee for awarding Barca questionable penalty

March 10, 2017 15:14 IST

The contentious challenge by PSG's Marquinhos that saw Luis Suarez go down and earn Barca a penalty in the dying minutes of the game on Wednesday 

IMAGE: The contentious challenge by PSG's Marquinhos that saw Luis Suarez go down and earn Barca a penalty in the dying minutes of the game on Wednesday. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Barcelona's astonishing comeback win over Paris St Germain in the Champions League is a reminder of soccer's enduring ability to surprise and rule changes should be handled with care, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday.

After losing 4-0 in the first leg in France, Barcelona scored three times in the last seven minutes to win a thrilling last 16 home game 6-1 on Wednesday and march into the quarter-finals.

The feat was hailed as the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

"What you saw was an incredible match," Infantino told reporters after a FIFA executive football summit near London's Heathrow airport.

"This shows that football is really a fantastic game."

Barcelona were helped, to the fury of PSG fans, by a theatrical Luis Suarez tumble that was rewarded with a stoppage-time penalty for Barcelona's fifth goal.

Video replays indicated the Uruguayan had made minimal contact with the defender.

"Whether that particular case was an injustice or not, we can leave it to the judgement of the referee at this stage," said Infantino.

The game's law-making body IFAB agreed to live trials of video assistant referees (VAR) last year, allowing match referees to consult a video official in four "game-changing" scenarios: when a goal has been scored, penalty decisions, sendings-off and mistaken identity.

Infantino, who has backed VAR, said Wednesday's game highlighted the need for care -- something he had discussed at dinner with senior English and Scottish officials.

"We were saying we have really to be careful in the IFAB if we want to touch the rules, because football is such an incredible game," he said.

"Whenever you have the feeling you have seen everything, something else comes that you have never seen before.

"VAR will be there in future, hopefully, to correct, clear mistakes of the referee. In this case I don't know whether it was a clear mistake or not. But in future when there are clear mistakes this will be corrected."

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