Frank Lampard has fanned the flames ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United by suggesting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have benefitted from VAR of late.

Lampard's Blues face United at Wembley on Sunday in their fourth meeting of the season, with Chelsea having lost each of the previous three games in the Premier League or EFL Cup.

A Marcus Rashford penalty sent United on their way to a 4-0 victory back in August, one of 13 spot-kicks Solskjaer's men have had in the Premier League this term.

The most recent one - won by Bruno Fernandes at Aston Villa - was particularly contentious, while United were perhaps fortunate that Victor Lindelof's apparent foul on Wilfried Zaha was not reviewed by VAR in Thursday's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Lampard noted that the introduction of VAR this season was supposed to remove any allegations of big-club bias, but he could not help but notice how the system has helped United recently.

"I suppose when you look back over days people would say [decisions] favour the big team, whether it's pressure, whether it's because of fan influence, I don't know [but] those days are gone," Lampard told reporters.

"VAR has come in to try and change, and not just favouring teams, but just to get the right decision."

"There is always a human element to VAR, still, of course, clearly they have to make a decision.

"The confusing thing about some of the recent ones, and the one last night, is that it's a very, very clear and obvious decision that was wrong that didn't get reviewed and changed and a few of those have happened. That is strange.

"I would like to think that sometimes you maybe with VAR have to be level-headed. Some may go slightly against you or not. But it just seems a period where in terms of Manchester United, they've got a few in their favour. "

Lampard also insisted he is not motivated by revenge after the three defeats earlier in the campaign.

"I think it's more than that," he added.

"Knowing the circumstances of the games, and fair play we've lost three, that's just a fact. I'm not into revenge and all these things.

"I just want to win the game that's in front of us on Sunday against a very good team."

Jose Mourinho claims his former club Manchester United have been "lucky" on their march towards the top four - even though he sees much to admire.

As Mourinho has been toiling with an injury-hit Tottenham team, United have emerged from the chasing pack to mount a challenge for a place in next season's Champions League.

The signing of Mourinho's fellow Portuguese Bruno Fernandes in January has proven a masterstroke, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have improved to such an extent many fancy them to push for 2020-21 honours.

Mourinho can appreciate the swagger that has been restored to the Red Devils ranks, but he also claims United have benefited from good fortune along the way.

As recently as Thursday, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish was incredulous when his team were denied a penalty after Wilfried Zaha went down under a challenge from United defender Victor Lindelof early in their Selhurst Park clash.

And Mourinho was upset last month when United were awarded a penalty from which they equalised against his Spurs team, earning a 1-1 draw.

Looking at the battle for top-four places, Mourinho said: "If Man United does it, they will do it by playing very well in the second part of the season. When you play well, you deserve. On top of that, everybody knows they were a bit lucky, more than one time. Luck that we didn't have."

Speaking in his Spurs news conference, Mourinho spoke further about his perception United had been able to strike it lucky with decisions in the age of video assistant referees.

"VAR shouldn't be about that. VAR should be simple, pure, clear decisions," Mourinho said. "The space for the mistake is the man on the pitch having to make very difficult decisions, 200mph, different angles of vision, that is the mistake that we learn how to respect in football.

"Sometimes it's difficult to accept, but you understand [a referee's mistake]. Everybody makes mistakes."

Mourinho was glad to hear news that supporters could be allowed back into stadiums from October, as announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson earlier on Friday.

"Did he say anything about me going to Portugal for a week's holiday?" Mourinho joked.

On a serious note, Mourinho said he would listen to Serge Aurier before deciding if he should face Leicester City on Sunday, following the death of the Ivorian defender's brother.

"It will be him opening up his heart, letting us understand his conditions," Mourinho said.

Mourinho expressed delight at 19-year-old midfielder Oliver Skipp signing a new four-year contract, describing him as a potential leader in years to come.

"I think he can be a future captain here. Hugo [Lloris], Harry [Kane]…I see this kid one day captaining this club by his character and personality," Mourinho added. "I feel very happy that he's signed."

Zinedine Zidane feels his Real Madrid players deserve more respect as he is "tired" of their victories being attributed to refereeing decisions.

Madrid celebrated a seventh straight win on Sunday as they prevailed 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao, moving seven points clear of rivals Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.

However, their goal came courtesy of a Sergio Ramos penalty, awarded only after a VAR review highlighted Dani Garcia's trip on Marcelo.

Iker Muniain revealed his frustration at the call after the match, echoing comments from Barca's Gerard Pique, who suggested the officials were making it difficult to stop Madrid winning the title.

Zidane bristled at the accusations, though, telling a news conference: "I am tired of being told that we won because of the referees.

"This is not going to change. But the players deserve respect. Nothing is going to take away from our goal."

The head coach accepted Madrid were not at their best at San Mames, yet he pointed to a tough schedule which saw the leaders in action against Getafe as recently as Thursday.

"Our strength is what I like the most. We are showing our strength and our balance when we lose the ball," Zidane said. "We are doing very well.

"We have lacked brilliance in attack and we can improve, but most important is our defensive strength.

"[The problems in attack are due to] a little bit of everything. It can be something physical, too. We play every three days.

"But I don't think it is our own thing; I think it is something for all the teams. There is a lot of difference between the beginning and the end."

Talk is turning towards when Madrid might clinch the title, with just four games to play and Barca struggling for form.

But Zidane is not getting ahead of himself, adding: "Until it is mathematically won, we cannot relax and think about the title.

"We have shown our strength and our solidity, but I am not going to talk about it, even if you ask me every day, because I already have a lot of experience in my career, also as a player, and all the games are difficult.

"What I can say is that winning seven games out of seven is impressive."

Athletic Bilbao captain Iker Muniain became the latest player to question refereeing decisions involving Real Madrid after Sergio Ramos scored a decisive penalty at San Mames.

Madrid were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory on Sunday - their seventh win in a row - as Zinedine Zidane's men moved seven points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.

But Athletic were unhappy with the award of the spot-kick from which Ramos clinched the points, with Dani Garcia's trip on Marcelo spotted only after a VAR review.

Muniain was particularly frustrated as there was then no similar call made at the other end of the pitch when Ramos appeared to step on Raul Garcia's foot off the ball.

He said: "Raul Garcia has been stamped on and they haven't even reviewed it. That's the difference.

"We've seen the theme in these weeks since the restart - depending on which teams it is, some decisions are given.

"Everyone can draw their own conclusions."

Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique has previously suggested it would be difficult to stop Madrid winning the title because decisions too often go their way.

Those claims prompted Ramos to respond: "People shouldn't be imagining things!"

Sergio Ramos says people "shouldn't be imagining things" when it comes to Real Madrid benefitting from decisions in an apparent riposte towards Gerard Pique and Barcelona.

Zinedine Zidane's side moved back to the top of LaLiga by virtue of their superior head-to-head record on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Real Mallorca, thanks to goals from Ramos and Vinicius Junior.

Madrid reclaimed top spot after LaLiga's return this month due to Barcelona's 0-0 draw with Sevilla last Friday, after which Pique suggested it would be hard to stop Los Blancos winning the title because VAR and referee decisions too often go their way.

Ramos, though, thinks such arguments are only being made now that Madrid have the edge in the title race.

"There's a lot of noise in the media because we're leaders again," he told Movistar. "They didn't talk so much before. They talk about VAR, but I don't think anyone has an advantage over the season.

"We don't pay attention to this noise. I don't think they [the referees] take any predetermined decisions. It seems like we should be thanking the refs for being leaders! People shouldn't be imagining things.

"We've been working hard and since the lockdown, we've been united, and we deserve to be where we are."

Ramos became the top-scoring defender in LaLiga history against Real Sociedad last week and his goal on Wednesday, his 69th in the top flight, made him the first defender to reach eight in a single season since Ezequiel Garay 13 years ago.

However, the Madrid captain remains far more concerned with team performances and admitted they felt tired as the Mallorca match went on.

"I've always said this is a team game at the end of the day," he said. "The personal side makes you feel proud and motivates you but it's secondary. The most important thing is the consistency of the team. It's a job well done and three more points.

"The team was tired, we felt that. Obviously, we don't have long to recover between games, and we have to continue improving. We all know what our objective is but there are plenty of things we can improve.

"Our play stagnated a little at times, but I think we can generally improve in all aspects. We could have put the game to bed earlier and taken more chances, played with the ball in their half. That's what we want to do: we want to dominate more."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder felt it was unacceptable for goal-line technology to fail after a faulty decision cost his team a Premier League victory.

The Hawk-Eye system did not detect Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carrying Oliver Norwood's first-half free-kick over the line during Wednesday's match.

As a result, no signal was sent to referee Michael Oliver's watch and, to further compound matters, there was no intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR).

It finished goalless at Villa Park in the first Premier League game for three months after the coronavirus-enforced suspension of football in England.

Three points for the visitors would have moved them above Manchester United into fifth place.

Wilder suggested it might have been the VAR system's biggest mishap yet, joking that Nyland was eight rows back in the Holte End stand when he grabbed the ball.

"I said it before that I wouldn't be surprised if we're one of the first teams to suffer from a VAR decision – and we've possibly suffered from the biggest VAR decision in the history of the Premier League," Wilder said.

Hawk-Eye apologised "unreservedly" to the Premier League and Sheffield United for the error, saying all seven of its cameras around the goal were obstructed by players and a goalpost.

But the failure of VAR to intervene was particularly galling for Wilder, who said: "Why are we not having somebody at Stockley Park looking at that?

"Holding and pausing and getting the right decision. For seven cameras to not work, that's incredible."

Wilder quipped that "somebody at Stockley Park might have gone for a cup of tea", adding: "I think he was about eight rows in when he caught it and dragged it in."

The Blades manager will "take it on the chin" but said that both sets of players and coaching staff, and the scattering of people allowed into Villa Park, "had the feeling that that was a goal".

Norwood, whose delivery into the box was intended as a cross, added on SUTV: "When you look at back at it, you think, 'What's VAR for?', because surely they can say that's a goal if Hawk-Eye isn't working.

"It's like somebody's scared to make a decision either way. It's frustrating, but what can you do?”

Hawk-Eye said in its statement: "The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the goal decision system (GDS) protocol.

"The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender and goalpost.

"This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye goal-line technology system has been in operation."

Football law-makers have approved FIFA's plan to let teams make up to five substitutions in a match, while VAR could be temporarily dropped by leagues.

It will be at the discretion of each competition whether new guidance is implemented.

FIFA proposed the change from three substitutions to five as a move to protect player welfare in the coronavirus era as football slowly returns to normal.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) gave its nod of approval, but the new law will be applicable only in competitions scheduled to finish by the end of 2020.

VAR could also be temporarily cut, with football re-emerging at a difficult time when it may not always be possible to implement the same technology as before COVID-19 took hold.

IFAB said in a statement on Friday: "For competitions which have either started or are intended to start, but are scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2020, the IFAB has approved FIFA's proposal to introduce a temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players, which will allow for a maximum of five substitutes to be made per team.

"However, to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions; substitutions may also be made at half-time.

"The temporary amendment comes into force with immediate effect, and has been made as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare.

"The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment will remain at the discretion of each individual competition organiser, while the IFAB and FIFA will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further (e.g. for competitions due to be completed in 2021)."

The IFAB statement added: "In relation to competitions in which the video assistant referee (VAR) system is implemented, these competitions are permitted to cease its use upon restart at the discretion of each individual competition organiser.

"However, where VAR is used, all aspects of the Laws of the Game and, by extension, the VAR protocol will remain in place."

Atletico Madrid fans jeered Diego Simeone's decision to withdraw Joao Felix during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sevilla but the coach explained he was under instruction to be "careful" with him.

Los Colchoneros missed out on the chance to usurp Sevilla and go third in LaLiga, as they struggled to break down their visitors after a thrilling first half.

Alvaro Morata's penalty and Joao Felix's deflected effort cancelled out Luuk de Jong's well-taken opener, before Lucas Ocampos' spot-kick – which he won – just before half-time earned Sevilla a deserved point.

With Atletico chasing a late win, the previously lively Joao Felix was taken off for former Sevilla winger Vitolo in the 80th minute, and the home fans seemed unimpressed by the alteration.

But Simeone stressed he felt it to be a necessary decision.

"We can't tell people that he felt overloaded in his calf," Simeone told reporters when asked to address the whistles that accompanied his withdrawal.

"The doctor told me to be careful with Joao because he was getting cramps, that's why the change came.

"That he scored a goal to make the people happy is normal, because he's from Atletico."

VAR attracted much attention during the match, as the two penalties came after lengthy reviews – Simeone felt the outcome of both incidents was fair.

"It ends up being more fair than unfair," he said. "I am far away from the play of the first penalty and very far for the second, so I cannot enter a summary.

"I don't think that the defining factor of the match was the VAR. It has been a good duel with two teams fighting for very high goals.

"We were two teams that have competed very well, and that will surely compete until the end for the Champions League [places]."

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was less impressed by the use of VAR, however, particularly in terms of how long it took for the final decisions to be communicated.

"I believe that the VAR should intervene when situations are white or black," he added. "If you are waiting three minutes to see if you are going to review the decision or not, then that play is not very clear.

"There are many browns [rather than black or white] in football. That is what I meant. It should only intervene when it is black or white, because it cannot take so long, also because of the rhythm of the match, it stops too much.

"It was a very nice match. He [the referee] can't stand around for four or five minutes."

Milan must take responsibility for their draw against 10-man Fiorentina, says Stefano Pioli, but the coach was convinced his side should not have had a late penalty awarded against them.

Ante Rebic's goal put Milan ahead after 56 minutes in Saturday's Serie A clash, with Fiorentina's chances diminished further when Dalbert was sent off after a VAR check.

But Fiorentina rallied late on and were given a penalty when Alessio Romagnoli was deemed to have fouled ex-Rossoneri striker Patrick Cutrone, even though the defender seemed to have got the ball.

Erick Pulgar converted beyond Asmir Begovic – who had replaced the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the second half – and Milan were ultimately fortunate to come away with a point after Martin Caceres and Dusan Vlahovic missed late chances.

Though Pioli acknowledged his side had slipped up in failing to retain their lead, he was sure Romagnoli was unfairly penalised.

"We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do, but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over," he told DAZN.

"There are regrets, we certainly shoulder responsibility, because we made errors.

"As for the penalty, there are no doubts, it was not a penalty. You could tell from the bench that the ball moved when Romagnoli went in.

"I do not understand why technology is not used in these situations. I do not understand it. I thought and had taken it for granted that VAR helped a referee change an incorrect decision, but apparently that is not the case.

"It's difficult to accept, because we've had some strange incidents going against us. We shoulder a lot of the responsibility, because we made mistakes, but on the other situation, there's nothing we can do to control that."

While Milan will leave Florence feeling hard done by, Cutrone – who clapped the travelling support after the game – insisted he had no intention to celebrate if he had been on spot-kick duties.

"Milan will never be an opponent for me. I thank them for all they gave me and the applause at the end," Cutrone told DAZN.

"I am happy with the point, I thank the Viola fans for their support and the Milan fans for their salute. If I had taken the penalty, I never would have celebrated because I respect Milan so much and I would never do that to them.

"I have to thank Fiorentina for believing in me. I have to repay the club with performances and I hope many goals."

Zinedine Zidane believes it was the right decision to rule out a Luuk de Jong goal in Real Madrid's 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Saturday.

Madrid moved top of LaLiga as two goals from Casemiro secured all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite De Jong having briefly made it 1-1 in the second half.

The striker thought he had given Sevilla the lead half an hour in, but his header was disallowed following a VAR check, with referee Juan Martinez Munuera instead penalising Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao in the build-up.

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui was aghast at the decision and director of football Monchi claimed he would have taken the team off the pitch had they seen a goal disallowed for a second time when VAR was used to check a possible handball by Munir El Haddadi.

Zidane, though, sees little reason to feel the decisions changed the game.

"What I can say is that I saw the incident and it's a block, there's a foul, the referee saw it on VAR, and he gave the foul," the Madrid boss told reporters.

"For the second, there's a hand, he doesn't give it. I can't explain anything, and I never get into evaluating these things. It's for the referee to decide.

"Sometimes these things go against you and sometimes in your favour. It's a difficult job. It's for them to decide.

"For me, there's a block, it's a foul and it's really normal."

When asked about Monchi's comments, Zidane replied: "I don't think the referee was that decisive. He did what he had to do.

"There's a hand for their goal, but that wasn't given. What can I say? I'm not going to get into it.

"It's a complicated game for everyone. We played against a good team, but the result is logical for what happened on the pitch.

"What he said is his responsibility. It's not for me to say anything. In the end, it's the referee who decides.

"What he said seems a little strong to me, but I'm not going to prevent the Sevilla sporting director from speaking."

Zidane went on to praise the performance of Casemiro, who proved Madrid's unlikely hero by scoring twice in the same game for the first time in his career with the club.

"Good, because in the end he got two goals and that's not usual," he said of Casemiro's performance. "I'm happy for him. We can make the difference in attack with any player."

Sevilla director of football Monchi was incensed by VAR's intervention in the defeat to Real Madrid, claiming he would have walked his team off the pitch had Luuk de Jong seen a second goal disallowed.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid side claimed a 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Casemiro scoring either side of a De Jong strike to send the hosts to the top of LaLiga.

Sevilla thought they had taken the lead in the first half through De Jong's header, only for the goal to be disallowed when a VAR check prompted referee Juan Martinez Munuera to penalise Nemanja Gudelj for blocking Eder Militao.

Monchi was left furious by the decision and suggested he would have taken matters into his own hands had VAR intervened again when a possible handball by Munir El Haddadi before De Jong's finish was checked.

"Everyone saw the action. There's no footballing, technical or tactical analysis after such a clear incident that defines the game," Monchi told Movistar.

"There's nothing more to analyse about it. It's absurd.

"If they had ruled out the second goal, I would have come down to the pitch and taken the team off.

"We leave here satisfied with the game despite the defeat because Sevilla are a very big team. We're angry, outraged, and... I stop there."

Head coach Julen Lopetegui insisted there was no clear reason why Sevilla's opening goal should have been ruled out.

"I feel sad. When you lose a game, you're sad," Lopetegui said.

"We played quite a good first half. We deactivated Madrid, we scored an absolutely legal goal.

"I don't know if 'shame' is the right word. If I said that [at the time], it's not appropriate, but there's no reason to disallow the goal. We've seen it and it was legal.

"It's a great goal, a play we worked on throughout the week and I still don't know why it was ruled out."

Marseille want to propose microphones for referees and written explanations of VAR decisions after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas bemoaned the officiating in his side's defeat at the Stade Velodrome.

Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille defeated their rivals 2-1 on Sunday, although the opening goal came from the penalty spot amid much controversy.

Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes was punished for handball inside the area, yet replays appeared to show Marseille's Morgan Sanson had also handled earlier in the move.

Aulas later criticised the VAR decision, also referring to a clash between Dario Benedetto and Leo Dubois, prompting a response from Marseille on Wednesday.

While "surprised" Aulas, who holds a role on the executive committee at the French Football Federation (FFF), had questioned officials, they offered ideas for how VAR could be better implemented in the league.

In a lengthy statement, Marseille suggested they join with the FFF to approach refereeing body the International Football Association Board, with their plan to install a microphone on referees to broadcast live the exchanges between the official and players, as well as broadcasting such conversations on a slight time delay.

They also advocated slow-motion replays being aired inside the stadium "in such a way as to show the public that the picture does not explain everything", plus a report be published after each day of the championship "specifying the right refereeing decisions, the obviously erroneous decisions and the decisions that should have been made but which were not".

Marseille pointed to the successful implementation of similar systems in both rugby and the NBA.

They described the increased "transparency" of such processes, adding they would "prove that these mistakes affect all clubs equally in the long run".

In addition to Aulas' comments regarding decisions on the field, Marseille also responded to criticism of the atmosphere at their ground, where Lyon's bus was attacked as it arrived at the venue.

Lyon had been advised to use an unmarked bus, as Marseille do against Paris Saint-Germain, but chose instead to arrive in club colours.

"The match was marked in the stadium by the exemplary behaviour of the immense majority of our supporters who, with their tifos and their encouragements throughout the match, gave the most beautiful expression of support to their club," the statement read.

"The Velodrome - with a record Ligue 1 attendance - showed again a unique atmosphere in France and Europe. The show on the field and in the stands ensured our championship an exceptional promotion around the world."

Sheffield United were the recipients of a harsh VAR decision but Chris Wilder's side battled back to draw 1-1 with Tottenham after Son Heung-min's opener on Saturday.

After Son - who was initially set to be suspended for this match but had his red card for a tackle that led to Andre Gomes' ankle injury overturned in midweek - put Spurs ahead, the Blades looked to have equalised until VAR disallowed David McGoldrick's goal.

However, George Baldock earned a share of the spoils for the Blades 12 minutes from time.

While Spurs are without a win in five league matches, their London rivals Chelsea are having no such issues under Frank Lampard, as they claimed a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Elsewhere, Everton claimed a vital away win at Southampton, Newcastle United saw off Bournemouth 2-1 and Burnley returned to winning ways in style with a 3-0 triumph over struggling West Ham.

 

SON ON TARGET BUT BLADES OVERCOME VAR CONTROVERSY

Much has been made of Son's devastation after his part in Gomes' injury, but he had reason to celebrate after the forward proved his importance to Spurs in what was another impotent display from Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Tottenham successfully appealed Son's red card, and they benefitted from having the forward available when the South Korea international pounced on Enda Stevens' mistake just before the hour.

The Blades thought they had scored a swift equaliser through McGoldrick, only for VAR to come to Spurs' rescue as - after a lengthy VAR check - it was deemed John Lundstram, who also hit the post, was marginally offside.

But VAR would not deny the visitors again - George Baldock's cross-cum-shot looping in to secure a deserved share of the spoils and lift the Blades, for now, into fifth.

ABRAHAM STRIKES AGAIN AS CHELSEA MAKE IT SIX IN A ROW

Chelsea were frustrated by some stubborn Palace defending in the first half at Stamford Bridge, but Lampard's side made the breakthrough courtesy of Tammy Abraham's 10th league goal of the season.

A sublime team move culminated in Willian flicking it around the corner into Abraham, who took a superb first touch before slotting beyond Vicente Guaita.

Three deserved points were wrapped up 11 minutes from time - Christian Pulisic acrobatically firing home as Chelsea won a sixth successive league match and, temporarily at least, moved above Manchester City into second.

EVERTON CLAIM VITAL VICTORY AS BURNLEY CLATTER WEST HAM

Defeat - or even a failure to win - at St Mary's for Everton could have spelled the end for Marco Silva, but the Toffees came away with the points thanks to Richarlison's 75th-minute effort.

Danny Ings' goal five minutes into the second half had cancelled out Tom Davies' early opener, yet Southampton - who have now lost six out of their last seven league matches - could not keep up the momentum, with Richarlison having the final say as Everton held onto their first away win of the season.

Everton sit in 13th, a point behind Burnley, who ended a three-game losing streak by dismantling West Ham, whose boss Manuel Pellegrini may well be under pressure heading into the international break.

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood - who has scored in all five of his Premier League games against the Hammers - had Burnley in control by the break, before Roberto Jimenez's calamitous own goal wrapped things up at Turf Moor. 

Western United overcame a contentious VAR decision to claim a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers and second spot in the A-League on Saturday.

Andrew Durante and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi scored either side of half-time at GMHBA Stadium to complete the home side's recovery from Mitchell Duke's cool fifth-minute opener.

Their task was made more difficult by a curious call that went against Scott McDonald in the early stages of the second half.

Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Lopar blocked McDonald's close-range header but not before it crossed the line, or so it seemed on television replays.

VAR reviewed the footage and eventually determined the ball had not completely entered the goal, despite seemingly convincing evidence to the contrary.

United's anger gave way to joy when Appiah-Kubi cushioned Ersan Gulum's wayward effort and clinically beat Lopar on the turn, his 58th-minute winner sending Mark Rudan's men above Western Sydney by virtue of goals scored.

There was late drama in the early game as Perth Glory salvaged a 1-1 draw away to winless Newcastle Jets.

Diego Castro forced in an 86th-minute equaliser amid a goalmouth scramble to cancel out Jason Hoffman's well-taken finish, which had given Newcastle a first-half lead.

Alex Grant was shown a second yellow card a minute after Castro's goal but 10-man Perth saw out the draw, their third in five games.

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