In a highly anticipated clash at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, the 2023 MTN8 semifinal second leg between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs was marred by a controversial referee decision that left fans, players, and pundits divided.
Sundowns legend Teko Modise, working as a match analyst for Supersport TV, weighed in on the incident that occurred towards the end of the game, where Thapelo Maseko’s challenge on Mduduzi Mdantsane in Sundowns’ box left everyone questioning whether it should have been a penalty.
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The match had been an intense battle, with the score tied 2-1 on the day and 3-2 on aggregate after goals from Peter Shalulile and Ashley Du Preez’s penalty.
However, it was the late drama that stole the headlines.
Deep into added time, with the tension running high, Maseko found himself in a precarious situation as he attempted to clear the ball from Sundowns’ box.
In the process, he appeared to make contact with Mdantsane’s right leg.
A chorus of Chiefs players immediately called for a penalty, but the referee waved play on, ultimately sealing Sundowns’ victory.
Jimmy Tau And Teko Modise
Post-match, Supersport TV’s Jimmy Tau sought the opinion of Teko Modise, who had enjoyed a storied career with both Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
Modise’s response was clear: “My opinion on that is that it’s not a penalty.”
However, when pressed further by Tau, Modise hesitated, stating, “I am not sure.”
But later changed his statement and said that there was no contact.
The Call For VAR
This incident added fuel to the already fiery debate surrounding refereeing decisions that appeared to favour Sundowns throughout the tournament.
It’s essential to note that refereeing decisions have always been a contentious topic in football, with fans and analysts often divided over crucial calls.
Modise’s uncertainty in his initial response reflects the difficulty referees face in making split-second judgments in high-stakes matches.
Replays and slow-motion analyses often reveal a different perspective from what referees see in real-time.
The controversy surrounding this particular incident highlights the need for ongoing discussions about the use of technology in football, such as VAR (Video Assistant Referee).
VAR has been implemented in various leagues worldwide to aid referees in making more accurate decisions, reducing the chances of errors impacting the outcome of crucial matches.