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VAR system just helps the big teams - Morocco's Younes Belhanda

Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda claimed the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system "is just [to help the] big teams" after it was used to allow Spain's late equaliser in Monday's 2-2 World Cup draw.

With Morocco, already eliminated from the tournament, leading 2-1 as the game in Krasnodar entered its final stages, Iago Aspas levelled after the officials employed VAR to rule that he had not been offside.

A long wait for the decision to be confirmed saw clashes between Morocco and Spain players, and Galatasaray playmaker Belhanda voiced his frustration after the match.

"It's frustrating, because we now know that VAR is just for the big teams," he told RMC.

"There was a handball by [Spain defender Gerard] Pique that wasn't whistled. There's a corner which is taken from the other side. It's for the big teams, VAR."

His comments were echoed by goalkeeper Munir Mohand Mohamedi, who said Morocco felt Cristiano Ronaldo's winning goal for Portugal against them had come after Pepe appeared to impede a defender.

"Our protests were because, in the previous game, the goal that Portugal scored against us was not right," Munir told Telecinco.

"We are not treated the same way. The game was not stopped, the VAR was not looked at, they did not see on the screen that there was a foul ... that was why we complained.

"You get annoyed as it takes a minute, and the way it is done. We thought it [the Spain goal] was offside, and as it took so long to decide, we got annoyed and complained."

As he left the pitch, Morocco winger Nordin Amrabat appeared to say that the VAR system was "bull----."

There was late drama in the other Group B match as Iran equalised against Portugal from a controversial late penalty awarded by VAR for a handball. The two draws meant Spain went through as group winners and will face hosts Russia on Sunday.

During a bad tempered end to the Portugal game, Ronaldo escaped a red card after appearing to elbow Morteza Pouraliganji, with Iran coach Carlos Quieroz suggesting that rules sometimes did not appear to apply to the game's biggest names.

"You stop the game for VAR, there is an elbow," Quieroz, who fell out with Ronaldo after the pair worked together with Portugal at the 2010 World Cup, told a news conference. "Elbow is a red card in the rules, the rules doesn't say if it's [Lionel] Messi or Ronaldo."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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