FIFA World Cup qualifiers: Ref apologises after Cristiano Ronaldo blunder


Match referee Danny Makkelie found himself at the centre of controversy on Saturday after he and his team of officials failed to award Portugal a goal during Saturday's 2-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against Serbia.

With the encounter nearing its end, Selecao captain Ronaldo appeared to have netted the match-winning goal for his nation, only for the officials to incorrectly rule that the entire ball had not crossed the goal line.

Speaking after the incident, Makkelie admitted that the officials had got the decision wrong and that he had personally apologised to Portugal coach Fernando Santos following the match.

"According to FIFA policy, all I can say is that I apologised to the national coach, Mr. Fernando Santos, and to the Portuguese team for what happened," Makkelie told A Bola h/t AS.

"As a referee team, we always work hard to make good decisions. When we are the centre of the news in this way, it does not satisfy us at all."

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a late, match-winning
Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a late, match-winning goal during Portugal's 2-2 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against Serbia on Saturday
Scroll through the gallery to see more images of C
Scroll through the gallery to see more images of Cristiano Ronaldo storming off

This was confirmed by Santos who took the opportunity to stress the importance of the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) and Goal-line technology systems – both of which were absent for the clash

"The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed. I was in the dressing room with him and he apologised to me," he said, per talkSPORT.

"He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise – and so it was.

"I told him on the pitch that there was no VAR or goal-line technology – one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important – but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal.

"There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line. [It is a] problem because we drew. We have to rethink. The referees are human and make mistakes, but that’s why there is the VAR and the goal-line technology to avoid this."