DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Ghana coach Otto Addo has criticized the U.S. referee who called the penalty kick that resulted in Cristiano Ronaldo’s record World Cup goal. on Thursday, calling it “a special treat.”
Ronaldo won and converted the second half penalty, making him 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. Really a gift,” Addo said. “What else can I say? (It was) a special gift from the referee.”
Addo’s criticism of US referee Ismail Elfath was so blunt that it could land 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 Mohammed Salisu did not foul Ronaldo for the penalty, complaining that the referees did not use VAR to make sure. Salisu’s thigh appeared to make light contact with Ronaldo’s leg before the Portugal captain fell to the ground.
Ronaldo, 37, who was starting what is expected to be his last World Cup, converted the penalty for his piece of history.
“I think it was really the wrong decision,” Addo said. “I don’t know why the VAR didn’t come out. There is no explanation for me. And then it’s tough against a world-class team when they’re leading.”
Addo is a 47-year-old former Ghanaian player who is in his first international coaching job and his first World Cup. He said that he even tried to meet with Elfath after the game to ask him about the incident. Addo also complained that Elfath had missed numerous free kicks on his players.
“I tried,” Addo said. “I asked some people outside of FIFA if I could talk to the referee in a cool and calm way, but they said he’s in a meeting and it’s not possible.”
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