SOCHI (Reuters) - Germany eased into the Confederations Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 win over Cameroon on Sunday as the VAR system was again thrust into the spotlight when the on-field official needed two reviews of an incident to reach the right verdict.
Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after a reckless high challenge by Ernest Mabouka on Germany’s Emre Can saw Sebastien Siani wrongly receive a yellow card in a case of mistaken identity.
But even then Roldan did not come up with the right outcome as he simply switched the colour of midfielder Siani’s card from yellow to red.
It was only after Cameroon’s players insisted he review the incident again that he realised his error, rescinded Siani’s sending off and instead flashed the red card to the correct culprit Mabouka.
Germany deservedly topped Group B to set up a last four meeting with Mexico at the same venue on Thursday after the first international goals for Kerem Demirbay and Timo Werner, who got two. Vincent Aboubakar scored Cameroon’s consolation.
The drama came on a landmark day for Joachim Loew, who was able to celebrate his 100th win as Germany’s head coach in his 150th game in charge.
The best chance of a tight first-half fell to Germany’s Joshua Kimmich as he headed wide from six yards with the goal gaping.
But three minutes into the second period, Germany hit the front as some wonderful build-up play was rewarded by a first international goal for Demirbay.
A superb back-heel from captain Julian Draxler steered the ball into the path of the former Turkey junior international and he rifled a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
After the lengthy stoppage involving the red card incident, Germany made their numerical advantage count almost immediately as Werner got his first national team goal with an excellent header from Kimmich’s fine cross to the back post.
Cameroon were gifted a way back into the match when Marc-Andre ter Stegen let Aboubakar’s header burst through his gloves in what was a poor goal to concede for the Barcelona keeper.
Any thoughts of a comeback from the 10 men, though, were quashed when Werner lashed home his second as Germany’s young side went on to seal a comfortable win.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ian Chadband