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FIFA 2022: Ghana coach blames referee ‘gift’ to Ronaldo for Portugal loss

Ghana coach Otto Addo has insisted that the spot-kick from which Cristiano Ronaldo’s netted in his fifth World Cup was a “gift” from the American referee following the Black Stars’ defeat to Portugal.

Ghana had been comfortably holding Portugal until referee Ismail Elfath gave a penalty for Mohammed Salisu’s challenge on Ronaldo, and the aging icon rammed home the opener from the spot in the 65th minute.

Ghana went on to lose 3-2 following further goals from Joao Felix and rising star Rafael Leao, but asked who most contributed to his side’s defeat, Addo said: “the referee”.

“We are very disappointed, especially when I see the penalty situation. Up to that point we really had a good match,” said Addo.

“I think it was a really wrong decision. We were playing the ball… I don’t know why VAR didn’t come up, there is no explanation. Then it’s difficult against a world-class team when they’re leading.

“The referee gave a penalty which was not a penalty. Everyone saw that. Why? Because it’s Ronaldo or something?

“If somebody scores a goal, then congrats, but it was really a gift…. a special gift from the referee.”

READ MORE: FIFA 2022: Ronaldo makes World Cup history as Portugal beat Ghana

‘Ask the referee’

Asked whether the penalty would have been given for another player other than Ronaldo on the brink of such an important record, Addo said: “You have to ask the referee”.

“I have no proof of that a different decision would have been made for someone else… I don’t know if they weren’t paying attention or VAR was not paying attention,” he added.

“I think it’s incredible, it’s actually a foul against us.”

Portugal coach Fernando Santos brushed off Addo’s criticism of American referee Elfath, saying that the VAR officials would have intervened had they seen anything untoward.

“If the VAR says the referee should see something, then he will see it,” said Santos.

“If VAR didn’t call the referee, it’s because they saw images and didn’t think there was anything to see.”

After today’s goal, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in history to have scored in 5 different World Cups after scoring in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022.

Cristiano Ronaldo to hang up boots if Portugal win World Cup

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