A penalty call for Mehdi Taremi against Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – assisted by the pitchside monitor – helped changed the trajectory of the game

Maurizio Sarri has said he hopes English football fans would be able to remove VAR from the game after Lazio were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Porto.

The Serie A club drew 2-2 with their Portuguese visitors, resulting in a 4-3 aggregate exit from European competition for this season, despite having seized an early lead through Ciro Immobile.

A subsequent penalty call against Sergej Milinkovic-Savic by referee Deniz Aytekin allowed Porto to regain their foothold, despite Porto forward Mehdi Taremi initially being booked for simulation.

“The equalizer goal is unlucky,” the former Chelsea and Juventus boss told DAZN. “The referees first feeling is the right one, the VAR showed him a freeze-frame: a freeze-frame on a contact is always a penalty, but the situation was different.

“Milinkovics foot was stationary, the attacker is looking for him. We have been unlucky or the referee is poor, which is there because he seemed to be of a low level.

Pressed on the nature of VAR further, Sarri made reference to the general distaste for the system amid Premier League supporters, adding: “I hope the English fans will be able to get it abolished.”

Lazios exit from the Europa League leaves them facing another season without silverware, having last won a trophy with the 2019 Supercoppa Italia against Juventus. That victory came against Sarri, who was Juventus boss at the time.

The former Serie A and Europa League-winning coach faces a tall order to push his side into the heart of a congested Champions League race within Serie A however.

Juve currently lie in fourth, four points ahead of Lazio, with Atalanta sandwiched in between the two rivals.

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