Former English Premier League referee Mike Dean has described the decision by referee Ismail Elfath to award Portugal a penalty against Ghana on Thursday in the opening Group H game of the 2022 World Cup as scary and indefensible.
With game level at 0-0 and heading into the 65th minute, Ronaldo was challenged inside the Ghana area by Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu.
Referee Ismail Elfath without hesitation pointed to the spot, with VAR electing not to intervene. A decision Mike Dean has described as scary and indefensible.
“The defender [Salisu] clearly plays the ball. ‘Ronaldo then touches the back of the defender, goes down, instigated contact,” Mike Dean said after the game.
“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 referee’s decision proved costly as Ronaldo converted the kick to lead his team to a 3-2 win, one which keeps Portugal at the top of the table after the opening Group H games and leaves Ghana at the bottom.