March 29 – Where was VAR when it was most needed? Portuguese football, and in particular Cristiano Ronaldo, are still seething at an appalling referring decision that cost them a winning goal in their recent World Cup qualifier against Serbia.
Embarrassed Dutch referee Danny Makkelie was even forced to apologised to Portugal manager Fernando Santos after he failed to spot a late Ronaldo strike had crossed the line .
The game was into the final seconds with the score at 2-2 before the Juventus superstar looked like he had squeezed home the winner from a tight angle.
The shot clearly crossed the line but officials ruled that Stefan Mitrovic had cleared the ball off the line. Ronaldo earned himself a booking for confronting the assistant referee, and after the match threw his captain’s armband to the floor in disgust.
Replays showed the decision was a monumental error. “The referee apologised to me and told me he was embarrassed,” Santos said. “Referees are human and make mistakes, but that’s why there is the VAR and the goal-line technology to avoid this.”
After the game, Ronaldo posted a picture of the Portuguese team on Instagram with the caption: “Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest privileges of my life.
“I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change. But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being harmed.”
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