DOHA, Qatar (AP) Ghana coach Otto Addo has slammed the US referee who awarded the penalty kick that resulted in Cristiano Ronaldo’s record World Cup goal. on Thursday, calling it a “special gift.”
Ronaldo won the penalty and converted it in the second half, thus becoming the first male player to score in five World Cups. Portugal went on to beat Ghana 3-2.
“If someone scores a goal, congratulations. But this was really a gift,” said Addo. “What else can I say? (It was) a special gift from refereeing.”
Addo’s criticism of US referee Ismail El-Fath was so direct that it could put him in trouble with FIFA.
When asked what he thought was the reason for Ghana’s narrow defeat, Addo replied: “The Referee”.
Addo felt that Ghana defender Mohamed Salisu did not foul Ronaldo for the penalty kick, and complained that officials did not use video technology to make sure. Salisu’s thigh appeared to make slight contact with Ronaldo’s leg before the Portugal captain fell to the ground.
The 37-year-old Ronaldo, who was starting what is expected to be his last World Cup, converted the penalty kick for a piece of history.
“I think it was a really wrong decision,” Addo said. “I don’t know why the VAR didn’t show up. No explanation for me. And then it’s tough against a world class team when they’re on top.”
Addo is a 47-year-old ex-Ghana player who is working as an international coach for the first time and in his first World Cup. He said he even tried to meet with Al-Fateh after the match to ask about the incident. Addo also complained that Al-Fateh missed many of its players.
“I tried,” said Addo. “I asked some people outside FIFA if I could talk to the referee calmly and in a calm way, but they said he was in a meeting and that’s not possible.”
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