Indonesia wouldn't have lost to Guinea with VAR: media

By Hoang An   May 10, 2024 | 03:19 am PT
Indonesia wouldn't have lost to Guinea with VAR: media
Referee Francois Letexier (yellow shirt) during the Olympic playoff between Indonesia and Guinea on May 9, 2024. Photo by AFP
Many Indonesian newspapers were upset when the 2024 Olympics playoff game did not have VAR, believing that had led to their team losing 0-1 to Guinea due to a penalty.

"Indonesia have no chance left to attend the 2024 Olympics. If only there was VAR," Indonesian digital newspaper Detik wrote. "Indonesia could have avoided defeat if there was video technology in this match."

Detik also pointed out that the slow-motion replay showed midfielder Witan Sulaeman tackling down Algassime Bah outside the penalty area in the 27th minute, but referee Francois Letexier awarded a penalty to Guinea, allowing midfielder Ilaix Moriba to score the only goal of the match from the spot.

"Unfortunately, this match did not have VAR, otherwise the referee would have definitely reviewed the play and Indonesia could escape defeat," Detik added.

VAR was used in all 32 matches of the 2024 U23 Asian Cup in Qatar, where Indonesia finished fourth overall and competed for the last ticket to the Olympics with Guinea. The Thursday match was held at Clairefontaine National Football Center in France. The stadium has only one stand for 2,000 spectators, with a few hundred Indonesian fans present.

According to newspaper Kompas, the lack of facilities at Clairefontaine did not allow the use of VAR, even though FIFA president Gianni Infantino was in the stand watching.

Indonesian media was also unhappy when referee Letexier awarded the second penalty to Guinea in the second half when defender Alfreanda Dewangga tackled Bah down in the box. Coach Shin Tae-yong reacted to this decision and was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. It was Bah who took the penalty and hit the post. Guinea still protected the 1-0 lead until the end of the match.

"Referee Letexier's work and the lack of VAR in this match raised more questions about the quality of international games," newspaper Herald commented. Former referee Hitaba also said that Dewangga hit the ball first, so it was not considered a foul.

Letexier, 35, is an UEFA elite referee. He refereed the 2023 European Super Cup game and will be on duty at the 2024 Euro.

Olympic playoff highlights: Indonesia 0-1 Guinea

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