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Did Phoenix Rising handball their way to a playoff win?

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You be the judge (but yes).

Well, Sacramento Republic FC are out of the playoffs, losing 1-0 in an epic 120-minute match Saturday against Phoenix Rising. Solomon Asante scored the winner with a hockey-style deflection in the 114th minute. It’s a killer but what can you do, that’s sports.

Except ... Asante appears to have punched the ball in the net.

After the final whistle, the Phoenix color announcer admits he thought it was a clear handball, too.

If that video is too fast for you to tell, try this slower version:

I don’t know, that angle looks pretty clear to me. He punched the ball in.

So listen: This game will not be overturned. I know it’s been a weird year, but this result will stand, totally illegal goal and everything. Surely you’ve heard of the Hand of God, one of the most famous goals of all time. That one happened in a World Cup and nothing happened, and it’s celebrated and scorned in equal measure.

However, the USL Championship didn’t use VAR this year, and uh, it feels really bad to have a game in the 21st century decided in extra time on a blatant handball that was hard to see with the naked eye in real time. Could you argue that since it wasn’t clear it’s ok to stand? You could but that would be lame, let’s be real.

At the very least, USL needs to think about using VAR at least in playoff games. Imagine your season being ended by a player punching the ball in the net. Oh wait, that’s what happened here. It’s truly awful, and it’s going to make the loss that much bitter for a long time in Sacramento.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.