Juventus forward thought he had scored a late winner as despite the ball being cleared by Stefan Mitrovic, replays appeared to show it has crossed the line; Portugal boss Fernando Santos says it is ‘unacceptable’ VAR and goal-line technology is not used in World Cup qualifying games
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo says the whole nation has been “harmed” after being controversially denied an added-time winner in their World Cup qualifying 2-2 draw against Serbia.
The Juventus forward thought he had scored at the death as although his angled shot was cleared by defender Stefan Mitrovic, television replays appeared to show the ball crossing the line.
However, with no goal-line technology or VAR available in Belgrade his effort was disallowed.
A furious Ronaldo was booked for protesting before storming off the pitch at the final whistle and hurling away his captain’s armband in disgust.
Ronaldo later took to Instagram to vent his frustrations, posting: “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.
“We will keep our heads up and face the next challenge now.”
Liverpool forward Diogo Jota’s double had put the visitors in control at the break, but second-half goals from Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic saw Serbia – who had Nikola Milenkovic sent off in stoppage time – hit back.
‘Unacceptable’ not to have VAR and goal-line technology
Following the incident, Portugal head coach Fernando Santos said it was ‘unacceptable’ that VAR and goal-line technology is not used in every World Cup qualifying game.
Speaking after the game, Santos said: “I was so furious with the situation.
“The referee apologised, he has seen the video and that’s the second time it’s happened, a referee apologising after a qualifying game.
“It’s unacceptable to play a World Cup qualifying match without VAR and goal-line technology.”
The result left both sides on four points from two games as Serbia edged Republic of Ireland 3-2 at home in their opening game on Wednesday while Portugal eked out a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.
The draw also made for a bittersweet milestone for Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who reached a rare milestone of 1,000 games as head coach at club and international level combined in his 33-year long career in the dugout.