It goes without saying: both AS Roma and Bayern Munich were on the unfortunate end of a handful of crucial missed calls in their respective Champions League semifinal legs. For both sides, missed handball calls were at the heart of the controversy, and the use of VAR could very well have seen penalties awarded in the second legs of both ties.
For Bayern, Marcelo’s handball just inside the penalty area in the first half of leg 2 should have been called and a penalty should have been given; the defender even admitted after the match that it was a handball. For Roma, they were denied penalty claims twice in their second leg against Liverpool: one when Eden Dzeko was taken out by keeper Loris Karius after wrongly being flagged offside, and another when Trent Alexander-Arnold handled the ball inside the penalty area.
Speaking after the second leg against Liverpool, Roma’s president James Pallotta vented his frustration at the lack of calls in the decisive moments, and said (via AZ) that VAR could have benefited by Roma and Bayern, respectively:
It’s obvious that VAR is indispensable in the Champions League; otherwise, disgraces like this threaten to happen. You become ridiculous. What we saw in this match yesterday is unacceptable.
Roma’s sporting director, Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo (commonly known as ‘Monchi’) also chimed in, also referencing Juventus’s misfortune vs. Real Madrid in the quarterfinals:
The result would have been completely different without the referee’s mistakes. Juve also had to put up with refereeing mistakes against Real Madrid [in the Champions League quarterfinals]. The Italian Football Federation has to protest, because these mistakes are outrageous and not normal. I cannot understand why VAR has not been introduced for the most important soccer matches.
Monchi also described how frustrated Roma’s players were in the dressing room after the match and evoked the circumstances in which Bayern Munich likewise fell just short against Madrid:
They were extremely angry in the locker room, because we had given 100 percent in the second half and had played excellently . . . The fans perhaps joke that the final should be Bayern against Rome. But they’re right.