Without a doubt, the primary point of contention from Saturday’s Manchester derby was whether Bruno Fernandes’ equalizer should have remained.
The Portuguese midfielder converted past Ederson with a nice finish in the 78th minute at Old Trafford. However, the goal was marred by controversy because many saw Rashford as interfering with play.
The England international did not touch the ball despite clearly approaching from an offside position, but several believed he contributed by impeding City’s defense before Fernandes scored.
In fact, following the game, former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech resorted to social media to express his thoughts on the event. “The first United goal only proved the folks who create the rules don’t understand the game,” he wrote.
After the linesman ruled the strike out for offside, VAR was called in, and referee Stuart Attwell awarded the goal.
So, what are the rules regarding Rashford’s involvement in the goal?
According to FIFA, if a player touches the ball after it has been given to them by a teammate, they are actively interfering with play.
However, a player can affect play without touching the ball and should be given offside if the referee believes that their offside stance has interfered with an opponent, such as stopping the opponent from playing the ball or obscuring a goalkeeper’s line of view.
In addition, the IFAB Laws of the Game rulebook explains:
- a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball; if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent’s progress (e.g blocks the opponent) the offence should be penalised under Law 12.
It also says the following:
“A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:
- interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or
- interfering with an opponent by:
- preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
- challenging an opponent for the ball or
- clearly attempting to play a ball that is close when this action impacts an opponent or
- making an obvious action that clearly impacts the ability of an opponent to play the ball
When you watch the video, you’ll notice that no City defenders were in a position to touch the ball and redirect it away from Fernandes when he hit the shot.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, believes the goal should not have stood. “Rashford was offside,” the Spaniard claimed in his post-match interview with BT Sport. He kept our goalkeeper and defenders busy.”
“I suppose Marcus thought I was in a better position because I was facing the goal,” Bruno Fernandes said of the incident.
“I didn’t know if any of us were offside or not, but it didn’t make a difference because no one was close to him, so the team [Man City] has to defend. The only one nearby was one nearby.”
Here’s how the incident was received on social media.
“I truly have no idea what the offside law is now if Rashford is deemed not to have interfered with play or his actions affect upon a defender,” one fan said.
“Regardless of the verdict – which was wrong in my opinion – the statute itself is a farce,” commented another. Rashford definitely benefits from being offside, and the goal results from that advantage. “The IFAB needs to get started on the offside review.”
“Walker and Akanji slow down because Rashford is in the way,” said a third. Rashford is on the wrong side. OUTRAGEOUS choice.”