SARANSK: Video refereeing played a decisive role for a second time in a few hours at the World Cup finals in Denmark’s 1-0 victory over Peru in Group C.
Late in the first half Danish defender Yussuf Poulsen tripped Edison Flores and, though Gambian referee Bakary Gassama allowed play to continue, he was advised to interrupt the action and consult the pitch-screen.
Gassama then awarded the South Americans the fifth in only the seventh match of the finals but Christian Cueva, instead of shooting Peru into the lead, dragged his effort high over the bar. Midfielder Cueva left the pitch in tears at half-time.
The VAR intervention had followed a penalty award earlier in Kazan from which France took the lead against Australia in their 2-1 win.
Cueva contributed another glaring miss early in the second and his failings were punished when Denmark – who had been on the back foot for the majority of the game – took a 58th-minute lead.
The Danes, who had been on the back foot for most of the game, capitalised on a counter-attack led by Christian Eriksen and from which Poulsen shot them into an undeserved lead.
Peru were denied an immediate equaliser when Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel produced a brilliant one-handed save to deny Flores.
Peru brought veteran Paolo Guerrero, available pending his appeal to the Swiss Federal Court over a 14-month doping ban, into the game. He went close with an imaginative backheel and had a header cleared off the line by Poulsen in the last minute but somehow Denmark held on to deny Peru a happy return to the finals afer an absence of 36 years.
Denmark coach Age Hareide praised Schmeichel in particular, saying: “His goalline play is probably the best in the world when he is on form. He had a fantastic performance and it was needed. You have to acknowledge the performance of Kasper but also the defence and the whole team.”