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SINCE the introduction of goal line technology, video replays have been a controversial subject in football – however, the Club World Cup has provided its most significant case yet in its favour.

FIFA are trialing the technology at the competition – in which Real Madrid are favourites to win – to see how well Video Assistant Referees (VARs) help referees make decisions.

The semi-final between Atletico Nacional of Colombia and Kashima Antlers of Japan saw referee Viktor Kassai consult video replays of a Kashima free-kick being played into the Atletico box, before awarding a penalty.

Angered Atletico players surrounded Kassai as he returned to the field following the decision but the footage showed he had reasonable grounds to give the penalty, after Orlando Berrio fouled Daigo Nishi less than a yard inside the penalty area.

The review came about when the VAR alerted Kassai of the foul that he had missed nearly a full minute later.

The replays were displayed on screens situated in a small station pitch side – the referee consulted the videos for less than 30 seconds before awarding the penalty.

Shoma Doi converted the spot-kick, which came against the run of play, and Kashima went onto win the game 3-0, following goals from Yasushi Endo and Yuma Suzuki in the last 10 minutes.

An aggrieved Atletico claimed the Kashima player had been offside when he was fouled, and were left even more frustrated moments later when their own appeals for video assistance on a penalty decision were dismissed.

This is the first time FIFA’s Video Assistant Referee has been used in a competitive game, following its initial trialing during international friendlies this year.

The technology was once again the main talking point in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Mexico’s Club America earlier today, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury-time goal looked to have been ruled out for offside before referee Enrique Caceres consulted the VAR and eventually awarded the goal.

The confusion arose when Caceres didn’t view the incident on the video monitor before giving the goal.

Kashima will now face Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Club World Cup final in Yokohoma on Sunday.