‘THEFT!’ Outraged Portuguese press hit out at referee for sensationally denying Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winning goal against Serbia… with front pages calling for ‘VAR, sweet, VAR’ following 2022 World Cup qualifying injustice
- Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the pitch after being denied a late goal in Serbia
- At 2-2 the icon had the ball over the line, but it was somehow not given as a goal
- The Portuguese newspapers shared Ronaldo’s outrage the following morning
The Portuguese back pages sent a message as fiery as Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction in Serbia after the icon was shockingly denied a goal in the dying moments.
The Juventus star stormed off the pitch before the final whistle of the World Cup qualifier, which ended 2-2 following the officials’ howler.
Nuno Mendes fired the ball over to Ronaldo as time ticked into the final minute of added time, with the forward beating goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic to the ball and tapping it past him, as Stefan Mitrovic stretched to clear off the line.
The Portuguese press fumed after Cristiano Ronaldo was a denied a winning goal in Serbia
Ronaldo looked to have scored the winner in injury-time but the officials thought it was cleared
With no VAR, Ronaldo was furious at the full-time whistle as Portugal had to settle for a point
Replays clearly showed the defender had hooked the ball away far too late, but with no VAR in place the officials completely missed the it crossing the line. Ronaldo was booked for confronting the linesman, enraging the skipper even further.
Back home the nation’s newspapers shared in the outrage, with Record slapping the word ‘ROUBO!’, meaning ‘theft’, across their back page.
A Bola called the incident ‘shameless’, and O Jogo sarcastically quipped ‘var, sweet var’ to headline their coverage of the robbery.
O Jogo wrote ‘VAR DOCE VAR’ on their back page reaction, translating to ‘var, sweet var’
The No 7 took his captain’s armband off and chucked it to the floor amid his rage in Serbia
Ronaldo, who threw his captain’s armband to the floor as he left the pitch, put out a message on Instagram after the match.
‘Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest pride and privileges of my life,’ Portugal’s talisman said.
‘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. Lift your head and face the next challenge now! Come on, Portugal!’
Ronaldo strike would have been a brilliant steal after Nikola Milenkovic was sent-off late
The scandalous ending capped a thriller in Belgrade, as the hosts came back from 2-0 down after Diogo Jota had fired a double inside the first 36 minutes.
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic struck back in the second-half, before Nikola Milenkovic was sent-off for a wild challenge in injury-time – sending Portugal on the hunt for a winner.
The European Champions’ boss Fernando Santos was seen raging at the referee after the full-time whistle, and later revealed the Dutch referee Danny Makkelie had entered the Portugal dressing room to admit his mistake.
‘The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed. I was in the dressing room with him and apologised to me,’ Santos told RTP.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos was furious with the Dutch referee, who later apologised
Ronaldo couldn’t take anymore and left the pitch before the referee had stopped the match
‘He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise – and so it was.
‘It is the second time in a qualifying phase that they apologise to me after the game. I told him on the pitch that there was no VAR or goal line – one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important – but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal.
‘There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line. [it is a] problem because we drew. We have to rethink. The referees are human and make mistakes, but that’s why there is the VAR and the goal line technology to avoid this.’
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