No matter your club allegiance, you’d be hard pressed to feel anything but sympathy for Manchester City’s players and fans after last night. All was well in the blue half of Manchester when Raheem Sterling stroked home what seemed to be the winner in the 94th minute of their ding-dong battle with Spurs. Sterling led the celebrations, steaming to the corner to mark the hat-trick goal that had put City in the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League for only the second time in their history. The crowd went wild. Meanwhile, the Spurs players and supporters were crestfallen. Their chance of European glory and a first semi-final for 57 years had slipped through their fingers. And then everything flipped on its head. Celebrations became commiserations and confusion and vice versa thanks to VAR deciding Sergio Aguero was offside in the build-up. It’s a cruel game, no wonder that was the word that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reached for in the post-match press conference. “We are close to going through and after we went out through the action – it is cruel but we have to accept it,” he said. The late no-goal was not the only VAR controversy of the night with Fernando Llorente’s 73rd minute goal, which would prove to be the winner, proving contentious. Guardiola had his own view. “I support VAR but it is just to see the goal maybe from Llorente is handball,” he said. “From one angle it is handball. From the angle he saw the referee [thought] it is not so ... I am for fair football, for fair decisions. “The referees must be helped sometimes. When it is offside, it is offside. What can I say?” Guardiola is right. There’s no doubt that referees need all the help that they can get. For all the talk that decisions even out over the course of a season, everyone would be happier with a situation where the decisions are correct in every single game. VAR is a key part of that but you don’t need a video review to see that there are clearly teething issues. There is a lack of transparency over the decisions, particularly for those in the stands. The fact that assistant referees are told to keep their flags down adds to that – note that not one Spurs player appealed for offside on Aguero last night. In the other quarter-final contest, Liverpool players were not sure whether they should celebrate their opening goal against Porto as they waited for VAR to confirm it counted. It’s farcical. While the fans watching at home are kept in the loop, those in the ground are not and at some stadiums that is impossible. At Anfield and Old Trafford there are no video screens, fans have to make do with an old-fashioned LED scoreboard, and that won’t change at stadiums that are fundamentally the same as when Archibald Leitch designed them over a century ago. Here's the VAR offside call that ruled out Manchester City's dramatic late winner pic.twitter.com/Qs8TDAenVg — Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) 17 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> This will prove an issue when the English Premier League implements VAR next season. Further to that, VAR decisions need to be speeded up, which one can only hope will happen in time as the officials become more comfortable with the technology and the process. When Manchester City played Schalke in the round of 16, it took two and a half minutes for the referee to award a penalty against City’s Nicolas Otamendi. The VAR discussion has dominated the Champions League this season. From Manchester to Madrid, the chaos and controversy has taken away from the football and that needs to change. One of THE most remarkable phases of play the Champions League has seen... ∙ Sterling scores late winner ∙ The Etihad erupts ∙ Goes to a VAR check ∙ Disallowed for offside Just about every emotion in 120 seconds pic.twitter.com/j6CTZByTXQ — Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) 17 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Next, make sure it is uniform.This season’s FA Cup has been farcical because VAR has not been employed at every game, something Manchester City benefitted from away at Swansea City. The technology has only been put in place at games taking place at English Premier League grounds. If it is not ready for everyone then it is not ready at all. Most importantly, they need to get rid of handball as part of VAR or change the law to be clearer. While VAR would have ruled out Maradona’s “Hand of God” against England or Thierry Henry’s World Cup play-off sickener against Ireland, most handball decisions are not as clear cut. It is too open to interpretation right now, even with the use of multiple camera angles. Take the penalty given against PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe in the previous round. A VAR review decided that the defender’s arm was in an unnatural position when Diogo Dalot’s wayward shot hit him but not everyone agrees even now. The handball laws need to be changed regardless and until that happens they do not help VAR’s cause. VAR. Good or bad for football? pic.twitter.com/d8oUvsEpbn — Goal Malaysia (@Goal_MY) 18 April 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Maybe the answer lies in other sports. Perhaps teams should be limited to three reviews per game and the manager requests them from the officials, or do the referees need to be microphoned up like in rugby union and NFL? While there are no second chances, Pep Guardiola’s side get an immediate opportunity for revenge on Saturday when the teams meet again. Thank goodness for the hearts of the fans of the title chasers, there will be no VAR for that.