Aberdeen manager Barry Robson maintained his pride in his side’s performance after their Europa Conference League defeat at the hands of Group G pacesetters PAOK Salonika, but questioned the purpose of VAR after a controversial evening.
It had all been going according to plan for Robson’s side, who weathered a first-half storm before going 2-0 up by the hour mark thanks to classy finishes from Bojan Miovski and Dante Polvara.
Defensive errors allowed the visitors to find their way back into the game, substitute Kiril Despodov handing his side a lifeline before captain Vieirinha fired home an 84th-minute leveller.
There was further heartbreak as a VAR-awarded penalty was converted by Stefan Schwab to complete the turnaround and seal a 3-2 win.
But what grabbed the ire of Robson was the lack of intervention from VAR Alan Kijas in what looked a stonewall spot-kick for the Dons when Jack MacKenzie was kicked in the penalty area with the score at 2-1.
“We all know the answer,” he said when asked if he felt his side had been denied a penalty. “We all make mistakes. I make mistakes, and we lost the game with players making mistakes.
“When VAR comes in, they’re there to look at things six times, and they still get it wrong? That’s my problem.”
Responding to suggestions there was no check for the incident, Robson fumed: “If that’s the case, what are they doing here? You’re as well taking it away. I’m told they’re supposed to check every incident.
“I don’t want to make it about that though. I want to make it about my players. We’ve lost 3-2 and am I frustrated? Yes. But I’m so proud of them.
“Mistakes happen in football, but I thought tactically they were excellent and we got better as the game went on. We should have had at least a point, and I’m just frustrated that we didn’t take at least a point.”
The first PAOK goal came directly after a triple substitution, and Robson explained the reasoning for the changes, saying: “We had to make them. The players were drained. We were trying to get them on earlier, and we were actually thinking about making more.”