Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo threw his captain’s armband furiously, and left the pitch even before the full-time whistle after he was denied a last-minute winning goal against Serbia during the FIFA World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
The Juventus footballer had thought that he had struck the winner for Portugal in the final minute of the match, but his strike was deemed to have not crossed the line.
The replays, however, showed that the ball had indeed crossed the line, meaning that Portugal were wrongly denied a winning goal.
The match eventually ended in a 2-2 draw.
The Portugal star came close to scoring a stoppage-time goal when Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic slid and swept the ball to apparent safety though TV replays indicated it was a goal.
For Ronaldo, the ball had completely crossed the line. For Dutch referee Danny Makkelie it had not, and he rewarded Ronaldo’s complaints with a yellow card.
The incident will no doubt be used by fans of video review to argue for the use of VAR in qualifying matches for the world’s most important football tournament.
Juventus forward Ronaldo made a veiled reference to the incident in a social media posting after the match.
“Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest sources of pride and privileges of my life. 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 harmed. Lift your head and face the next challenge now!” Ronaldo wrote in Portuguese on his Instagram account.
For 10-man Serbia, it was the perfect ending to an inspired fightback from a two-goal deficit.
(With inputs from AP)