Frenkie de Jong Says VAR Will Help 'Big Clubs' After Ajax's Loss to Real Madrid

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Frenkie de Jong of Ajax battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Ajax and Real Madrid at Johan Cruyff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, . (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong said he expects big clubs to be the beneficiaries of VAR following his side's controversial loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

The European champions won 2-1 thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio either side of Hakim Ziyech's equaliser.

Ajax thought they had taken the lead in the tie in the first period when Nicolas Tagliafico headed home, although the goal was ruled out as Dusan Tadic was deemed to be offside and interfering with Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

After the game, De Jong, who is set to move to Barcelona in the summer, said he expects the implementation of this new technology will benefit high-profile outfits, per NOS (h/t AS).

"We did well as a team," the Netherlands international said. "It's a shame our goal was disallowed. Maybe something like that is easy to do in favour of a big club. We've had that as well. But we carried on well and we had our chances afterwards. It's too bad it didn't get us a better result."

It was decided VAR would be available to use for match officials in the knockout stages of the Champions League despite the fact that it wasn't in play during the group stage. The decision is one Ajax may rue, as they were dominating the match when they netted what they considered to be a legitimate goal.

The competition's Twitter account provided images of the incident and an explanation as to why the officials took the decision to rule out the goal:

Goal couldn't resist a joke at Real Madrid's expense:

While the technology has been implemented with a view to ending controversy, there have understandably been different viewpoints on the decision made in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

De Jong didn't seem at ease with the call, although Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said after the game he's a big advocate of the introduction of VAR, telling Movistar (h/t Goal) that "little by little, it is making football fairer."

Ronan Murphy of Goal dismissed the suggestion that the technology only serves to help the big sides, as De Jong suggested:

Rory Smith of the New York Times said he wasn't convinced VAR is needed in these marginal situations and said that the offside rule requires some clarification:

De Jong clearly feels as though Ajax have been on the right side of VAR previously, especially given it has been used in the Eredivisie and the Amsterdam outfit are the biggest club in the Netherlands.

The Barcelona-bound starlet's frustration is understandable, as the momentum was with Ajax in the game when they thought they had taken the lead. While the manager Erik ten Hag has a lot of exceptional young players at his disposal, turning this one around at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg will be a huge challenge.

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