Ghana coach Addo slams referee for ‘special gift’ to Cristiano Ronaldo

DOHA, Qatar – Ghana coach Otto Addo criticized the American referee who awarded the penalty that led to Cristiano Ronaldo’s record World Cup goal on Thursday, calling it “a special gift”.

Ronaldo won and converted the second-half penalty, becoming the first male player to score in five World Cups. Portugal beat Ghana 3-2.

“If someone scores a goal, congratulations,” said Addo. “But it was really a gift. Really a gift. What more can I say? [It was] a special gift from the referee.”

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Addo’s criticism of US referee Ismail Elfath was so direct that he could get in trouble with FIFA.

When asked what he thought was the reason for Ghana’s narrow defeat, Addo replied: “The referee.”

Addo felt that Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu had not fouled Ronaldo over the penalty and he complained that officials were not using VAR to be sure. Salisu’s thigh seemed to lightly touch Ronaldo’s leg before the Portugal captain went down.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo, who was in the starting XI for what is likely to be his last World Cup, converted the penalty for his piece of history.

“I think it was really the wrong decision,” said Addo. “I don’t know why VAR didn’t come. There’s no explanation for me. And then it’s difficult against a world-class team when they’re leading.”

Addo is a 47-year-old former Ghanaian player who is in his first international coaching job and at his first World Cup. He said he even tried to meet up with Elfath after the game to ask him about the incident. Addo also complained that Elfath overlooked numerous fouls on his players.

“I tried,” Addo said. “I asked some people outside at FIFA if I could talk quietly to the referee but they said he was in a meeting and it wasn’t possible.” Ghana coach Addo slams referee for ‘special gift’ to Cristiano Ronaldo

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