What is the point of VAR if the clear elbow to Aberdeen striker Duk’s head against HJK Helsinki was not reviewed?
In two words – no point.
Midfielder Georgios Kanellopoulos clearly elbowed Duk on the side of the head in the first half of the Europa Conference League Group G clash.
Referee Daniel Stefanski didn’t see the incident clearly as he was on the other side of Kanellopoulos’ elbow connecting with Duk.
Everyone else at Pittodrie saw it was an elbow to the head, but clearly not the VAR officials.
Remarkably a foul was given against Duk, who had lain on the pitch receiving treatment for an extended period of time.
It is ridiculous that VAR did not ask the referee to review the incident.
If the whistler had reviewed the incident, I’m sure a red card would have been issued to Kanellopoulos and the dynamics of the game would have changed.
VAR is there to help the referee and to rectify mistakes.
That wasn’t the case with the clear elbow to Duk.
I’m increasingly questioning just what is the point of VAR, if incidents such as that are not reviewed.
I would happily scrap VAR tomorrow as it is not doing what was promised, which is fix clear mistakes.
It was a frustrating Euro tie for Duk, who had two great chances to score but failed to take them.
First he raced onto a high through-ball and directed a header at goal, but keeper Jesse Ost did well to save.
A potentially game-winning opportunity then came soon after Bojan Miovski had scored to make it 1-1.
Played in on goal, Duk and was one-on-one with keeper Ost, but rather than round the stopper, Duk shot… and his effort was saved with the ball spinning over the bar.
Duk has still to reach his top levels which deservedly saw him win Aberdeen’s Player of the Year award last term.
I thought the goal in the 4-0 Premiership defeat of Ross County would be the spark to ignite him back to that top form.
That was his first goal of the campaign.
However, Duk is still not as sharp as he was last season and there needs to be more end product to his runs and skills – and more goals.
All strikers experience barren periods and I have been there myself when playing for Aberdeen.
They key to coming out the other side and rediscovering that confidence and scoring sharpness is extra training.
It is all about getting that confidence back to do right thig at right time on the pitch.
To make that right call in a split-second- that will be the difference between scoring and missing a chance.
When I suffered a goal drought,I would do extra training and get the younger players to cross in balls for me.
It is all about eye-to-ball contact and coordination.
You can lose that briefly, but it will come back with practise – and I’m confident Duk will rediscover his scoring touch.
BM 9️⃣ 🇲🇰
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 5, 2023
The Dons created more than enough chances to beat HJK Helsinki.
However, the Dons are only two points behind Eintracht Frankfurt, who occupy second spot in Group G, so it is all still to play for.
But they will have to be more clinical in front of goal on the European stage.
Premiership winning momentum key
Aberdeen must continue their Premiership revival by overcoming St Johnstone on Sunday – but it won’t be easy.
European football is a fantastic platform for the club and a great occasion for the supporters.
However, the Premiership is the Dons’ bread and butter and it is the route to qualifying for Europe again next season.
The Dons must target finishing at least third this season.
After a slow start in the league, with just two points from the opening five games, the Dons are now motoring in the league.
The superb 3-1 defeat of Rangers at Ibrox maintained the momentum of the 4-0 win against Ross County.
Aberdeen have moved up the table and must continue their ascent by securing three points against bottom club St Johnstone.
St Johnstone may be propping up the table, but they tend to provide a stuffy, tricky fixture for Aberdeen.
I’m sure that will be the case on Sunday as Saints will be battling hard to kick-start their own campaign.
Aberdeen must play at a high tempo and really take the game to Saints.
The international break comes up after Sunday, and it is important the Dons go into that with another three points and confidence high.
They do not want to spent more than a week of inaction regretting dropped points at home to the bottom team in the league.
Fans raised the roof for club legends
It has been a difficult few weeks for Aberdeen with the sad passing of club legends Frank McDougall and Jim Forrest.
Both were tremendous players for the club and Pittodrie greats.
Aberdeen supporters did Frank and Jim proud on Thursday by raising the Pittodrie roof with an emotional minute of applause in their honour.