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Europa League

Referee apologises to Ronaldo, Portugal for disallowed goal in World Cup qualifier

Dutch referee Danny Makkelie has apologised after denying Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal the winning goal in Saturday’s 2-2 controversial draw against Serbia in a World Cup qualifier.

Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic attempted to clear Ronaldo’s goal-bound strike in stoppage time, but despite his efforts, the ball had crossed the line.

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With no VAR or goal-line technology in place to review the incident, Makkelie waved play on much to the dismay of Ronaldo and his teammates.

“As per FIFA’s policies, 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.

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“As a referee team, we always work hard to make good decisions. When we are in the news in this manner, it doesn’t make us happy at all.”

Makkelie, 38, has been an international referee since 2008 and officiated the 2020 Europa League final between Sevilla and Inter Milan.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos had revealed Makkelie immediately apologised to him after the game and admitted that he “was ashamed” of the blunder.

After storming off the pitch and throwing his captain’s armband on the floor when being denied his first goal in the qualifying campaign, Ronaldo expressed his frustration on Instagram.

“There are moments which are tough to digest especially when we feel the entire nation is being punished,” he wrote. “We will keep our heads up and move on to the next challenge.”

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Ronaldo and Portugal are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Luxembourg for their Group A World Cup qualifier.

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