Controversy has erupted on the opening night of the new Champions League season after Borussia Dortmund were denied the chance to retake a crucial penalty against Barcelona.
The German team did everything but score as Barcelona barely held on for a 0-0 draw in their opening game on Tuesday.
The home side hit the crossbar, missed a penalty, wasted a host of chances and even kept Lionel Messi quiet on the Argentina star's first appearance of the season.
Messi came on as a substitute for the last 30 minutes but was unable to spark the visitors' struggling attack, with Dortmund creating the best chances of the game.
Instead Barcelona had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for avoiding defeat as he saved a penalty from Dortmund captain Marco Reus in the 57th and denied the home side with a string of saves on his return to his native Germany.
However there was controversy after the penalty save with replays showing ter Stegen clearly off his line and a number of Barca players inside the box.
Fans were left raging that VAR didn’t interject.
How on earth did VAR not allow Dortmund retake that penalty? FFS Ter Stegen was clearly of his line. Omg Dortmund was robbed I swear.
— Laolao (@itz_laolao) September 17, 2019
— M.A. (@SilverStrike13) September 17, 2019
Yep that’s rubbish honestly
— Shaun Coles (@ShaunGColes) September 18, 2019
Barcelona getting clear favouritism by the ref. Disgusting. That should have been a Dortmund victory. #BVBBAR
— Haroonsays (@Haroon_Mighty) September 17, 2019
— Ben Wade (@ben8wade) September 17, 2019
How can VAR miss this? Every goal is checked and so is every penalty miss. If it was Barcelona that missed the penalty, they'd have checked everywhere to ensure they retake.
But NO is Reus and its Dortmund.@ChampionsLeague give barcelona the trophy already... #BVBBarca pic.twitter.com/cb8BzeRZkr
— The High Table ❁ (@Bhoogieman) September 17, 2019
VAR takes centre stage
It didn't take long for VAR to become a talking point as the video refereeing system made its debut in the Champions League group phase.
Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp was also left livid over a penalty awarded to Napoli that helped the Italian side beat the defending champions 2-0.
Dries Mertens converted the penalty eight minutes from the end of an entertaining match after a contentious foul by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon.
Substitute Fernando Llorente then sealed it in stoppage time with his first goal for Napoli to gain a measure of revenge after playing for Tottenham who lost in last season's final to Liverpool.
Klopp thought Callejon exaggerated the contact after Robertson was adjudged to have tripped the Spaniard in the area.
"I'm pretty sure there are different views on that. When a player jumps before there is contact it is not a penalty," Klopp said.
Klopp then wondered aloud how the referees came to the decision.
"I'm not the best loser but I'm not a bad loser. It was a decision made by human beings. As long as human beings make the decisions there is potential for failure.
"The referees and the VAR were all German, and they have experience with the VAR in Germany," said Klopp, who is also German. "I'm sure they will find an explanation on why they did the right thing."
Liverpool became the first defending champions to lose their opening match since AC Milan were beaten by Ajax in 1994.
"It was very balanced match," Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "They're the best squad in Europe and they were again tonight, because they forced us to be extraordinary."
Last season, Napoli also beat Liverpool 1-0 at home before the English side won by the same score in England - denying Napoli a place in the knockout rounds.
"We put in practically the perfect performance," Callejon said. "We've faced them so many times that we know them tactically by now and did everything right."
Ancelotti, who added another chapter in his long, personal history against Liverpool, consoled Klopp.
"I told him to relax, because if he loses here, he tends to go on and win the Champions League," Ancelotti said. "I reassured him."