One step over the line

Goal-line tech­nol­ogy may have ended PSV’s Dutch ti­tle hopes

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MIKE CORDER

THE HAGUE, NETHER­LANDS — Af­ter PSV Eind­hoven goal­keeper Jeroen Zoet made the save, he made a costly mis­take.

Zoet saved a close-range header from Feyeno­ord de­fender Jan-Arie van der Hei­j­den, but af­ter hold­ing the ball up on the goal-line, he in­ex­pli­ca­bly dragged the ball back into his arms and into the goal, across the line by a hair’s breadth. A screen on ref­eree Bas Ni­jhuis’ wrist lit up.

Ni­jhuis looked down, saw the word “goal” flash­ing on the screen and awarded the Dutch league lead­ers the win­ning score in a 2-1 vic­tory. Sun­day’s re­sult took Feyeno­ord a step closer to its first league ti­tle since 1999 and likely ended two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion PSV’s ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions.

“I did ev­ery­thing I could to pre­vent the ball cross­ing the line,” Zoet told PSV TV. “Ac­cord­ing to the sys­tem, it was one mil­lime­ter over the line.”

PSV may not have been happy with the 82nd-minute de­ci­sion, but Dutch soc­cer au­thor­i­ties test­ing tech­no­log­i­cal help for ref­er­ees were.

“Ev­ery­body ben­e­fits if foot­ball be­comes more hon­est and ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions are ac­cu­rate,” Dutch soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Bas Ticheler said Mon­day. “Truth is the win­ner.”

Protest­ing PSV play­ers sur­rounded Ni­jhuis af­ter he awarded the goal, but later ac­cepted the de­ci­sion and said they should have done more to win a match that was likely the last gasp in a fal­ter­ing ti­tle de­fence. PSV is now in third place, 11 points be­hind Feyeno­ord with 10 to play. Ajax is sec­ond, five points be­hind.

Com­pound­ing PSV’s mis­ery was the fact that Feyeno­ord’s De Kuip Sta­dium is the only Dutch ground with goal-line tech­nol­ogy in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. Be­fore the win­ter break, the cam­eras were at Ajax’s Am­s­ter­dam Arena.

There have been other goals awarded by the tech­nol­ogy in the Nether­lands, but none at such a cru­cial stage in such a high-pro­file match.

“Luck­ily we have goal-line tech­nol­ogy,” Van der Hei­j­den said. “A goal is a goal. Tech­nol­ogy doesn’t lie.”

SHUJI KAJIYAMA, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jeroen Zoet saved a close-range header from Feyeno­ord de­fender Jan-Arie van der Hei­j­den, but as he clutched the ball to his chest, a screen on ref­eree Bas Ni­jhuis’ wrist lit up.

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