Why Napoli were asked to retake penalty and Rangers star Borna Barisic punished for handball

There was plenty of bafflement around Ibrox on Wednesday night following a host of decisions made by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz in Napoli’s 3-0 win.

Rangers had James Sands sent off, two penalties awarded against them and the one awarded to them was overturned by VAR.

There can be few complaints about the end outcome of each decision.

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VAR correctly overturned Lahoz's award of a late Rangers penalty. He had penalised Amir Rrahmani for a handball but the replay showed the ball hitting the player around his hip.

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Going back to the first contentious decision. It appeared Sands had won the ball when attempting to tackle Giovanni Simeone as he bore down on goal. Yet, Lahoz was correct in assessment that the American brought down the striker instead, earning himself a second yellow card.

This prompted the most confusing moment of the evening. Piotr Zielinski had his penalty saved by the excellent Allan McGregor only for Matteo Politano to react quickest to the rebound and convert.

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That, however, was pulled up.

The initial feeling is that it would be an indirect free-kick to Rangers for encroachment by Politano.

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Napoli were asked to retake a penalty due to encroachment. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

IFAB Law 14 states that if an offence is committed by a team-mate “if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts with an indirect free kick”.

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Following Politano into the box. however, was James Tavernier. Because the penalty was saved and the Rangers captain had encroached, the rules state the penalty must be retaken.

It was all for nothing, though, with McGregor once more denying Zielinski.

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Napoli were given another chance from the spot not long after when Borna Barisc was penalised for a handball. There were protests from the Croatian that his hand was by his side, while others suggested the Rangers defender was too close to the shot that was taken.

IFAB Law 12 states it is “an offence if a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger”. As was the case with Barisic. His hand was high up and out to his left.

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"A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation," the law reads.

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