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29 Mar, 2021 13:20

Portugal and Serbia could have AVOIDED disallowed goal drama with raging Ronaldo, says UEFA

Portugal and Serbia could have AVOIDED disallowed goal drama with raging Ronaldo, says UEFA

UEFA officials have blamed Portuguese and Serbian football authorities for leaving Cristiano Ronaldo fuming over a controversial goal-line incident at the weekend.

Ronaldo was left raging on Saturday when his goal was not given in a World Cup qualifier between the two teams despite clearly crossing the line, and took to social media to express his anger afterwards.

"Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest pride and privileges of my life," he began on Instagram.

"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 wronged.

"Lift your head and face the next challenge now," he urged fans of the Euro 2016 champions, adding emojis showing the national flag, a heart and a bulging bicep. "Come on, Portugal."

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With the controversy still raging, UEFA came out on Monday to defend itself and deflect blame elsewhere.

“The decision to use goal-line technology for the European Qualifiers lies with the host association for each match,” it said.

“If the host association plans to implement goal-line technology, they must also obtain written consent from the visiting association in order for it to be used.” 

Running a sensational headline on Sunday, Portuguese sport daily A Bola accused officials of "being without shame."

But their clever "Sem VARgonha" phrase was a double-entendre, which also lamented the absence of VAR and not just goal-line technology. 

The paper contacted referee Danny Makkelie, who informed them he had apologized to Portugal manager Fernando Santos and his men for the blunder.

“All I can say is that I said sorry to the coach and the team about what happened. As a refereeing team we always work hard to take the right decisions. When we are in the news for a reason like this, it doesn’t make us happy at all,” Makkelie explained.

Santos was also vocal on the lack of VAR, which is another topic UEFA touched on.

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“In 2019 UEFA had proposed to FIFA the implementation of VAR in the current World Cup qualifiers,” UEFA said.

 “The impact of the pandemic on operational and logistical capabilities led UEFA to delay the implementation of VAR in the Europa League group phase [to 2021-22 instead of 2020-21] as well as to withdraw the proposal to implement VAR in the 2022 European qualifiers,” it added.

“VAR was also not in use in the UEFA Nations League group stage in the autumn of 2020 and has therefore to-date never been used in UEFA national team qualifying group stage matches.”

Portugal took a two-goal lead in Belgrade after a double from Liverpool forward Diogo Jota, but were pegged back by strikes from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic.

Ronaldo thought he had snatched a dramatic late winner before his effort was not spotted crossing the line by match officials, despite clearly doing so. 

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