Brighton striker Glenn Murray insisted his winning goal did not go in off his arm as there was a hint of controversy on the debut of Video Assistant Referee technology in English football.
Dale Stephens’ first goal of the season put the Seagulls in front in the FA Cup tie at the AMEX Stadium, but a superb long-range strike from Bakary Sako brought Crystal Palace level.
Substitute Murray got the faintest touch to Uwe Hunemeier’s header back across goal to snatch a late 2-1 victory and earn the Seagulls a fourth-round trip to Middlesbrough.
Murray told BT Sport: “It wasn’t my arm, I think VAR would have pulled me back if it was. I just needed to get something on it and luckily I did, I think I got my hip or my knee or something on it.
“As soon as I did it I knew it wasn’t my arm, there was no doubt about it for me.”
Graham Poll: “Goal.”@rioferdy5: “Inconclusive.”
Steven Gerrard: “Goal.”
Should Glenn Murray’s goal stand? 🤔
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 8, 2018
Crystal Palace counterpart Roy Hodgson initially had a different view, saying: “From where we were standing and watching it looked for all the world like he’d handled it.
“The players close by thought so too, but to be fair when you see it lots of times it’s a very good case for the VAR and the referee to make. If he didn’t actually handle it, it was very, very close, so I have no complaints about that.
“I think what confuses it is it does come off his thigh but of course he throws his chest and arm towards the ball.
“But I don’t think it actually touches it, so on this occasion, having seen it several times myself, I think he made the decision correct and congratulations to them.”
Brighton boss Chris Hughton said of the incident: “I couldn’t see it that clearly, obviously I saw it go in but I didn’t know what the circumstances were.
“I knew that Hunemeier rose at the far post and did really well, so no I couldn’t see it and had to wait until we came in, but obviously it’s been very clear that it didn’t need VAR.”