Former Premier League referee Mike Dean has hit out at the “indefensible” decision to hand Cristiano Ronaldo his record-breaking penalty against Ghana.
The former Manchester United forward won a contentious spot-kick after the slightest of contact with Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu. The referee did not hesitate over the decision, with VAR electing not to intervene.
Ronaldo stepped up and thumped his effort past Ghana stopper Lawrence Ati-Zigi to become the first male player to ever score in five separate World Cup s. Dean was not happy that he got the opportunity in the first place and was left aghast at the decision to give a penalty.
Speaking after full-time, the 54-year-old said: “The defender [Salisu] clearly plays the ball. ‘Ronaldo then touches the back of the defender, goes down, instigated contact.
“It’s not the referee’s fault – he’s given the decision on the field of play. The VAR, in my opinion, should have got involved and invited the referee over to have a look at it.”
He continued: “It’s scary, I have to say. I’m just astounded. I like to back referees all the time but you can’t support stuff like that. You can’t defend the indefensible.”
“It should have been overturned,” he added. “He should have gone to the screen, he should have looked at it. There may have been some technical glitch that we don’t know about. I just can’t understand why he wasn’t sent to the screen. 100 per cent it’s wrong.”
In the end, the decision to award Portugal a penalty would prove costly for opponents Ghana having fallen to a 3-2 defeat at Stadium 974. After Ronaldo had given Portugal the lead, former Swansea City and West Ham forward Andre Ayew equalised for the African side.
Joao Felix put his side in front yet again just five minutes later before substitute Rafael Leao looked to have wrapped up victory with a strike 10 minutes from full-time. Osman Bukaro pulled one back for Ghana just before stoppage time to make it an uncomfortable conclusion to the match for Portugal.
Ronaldo’s penalty was one of nine given at the finals in Qatar already – every single one but two of those having been successfully converted. Robert Lewandowski was the first to fail from the spot having spurned the chance to give Poland the lead against Mexico on Tuesday.
Alphonso Davies then saw his spot-kick saved by Belgium stopper Thibaut Courtois – a decision that would end up costing Canada as they eventually found themselves on the end of an unfortunate 1-0 defeat.
Fernando Santos’ men next take on Uruguay before taking on South Korea in their final group game as they attempt to make the next round of the World Cup.