IndiaToday.in June 26, 2018 UPDATED: June 26, 2018 10:29 IST
Portugal’s star striker Cristiano Ronaldo must thank his lucky stars for escaping a straight red card during their dramatic 1-1 draw against Iran in the FIFA World Cup 2018 on Monday.
VAR was called into action to consult whether an incident between Ronaldo and Morteza Pouraliganji warranted a red card, it was decided that a yellow was the appropriate decision.
Ronaldo had elbowed the Iranian but many in the stadium and otherwise called for much stricter punishment.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz was certainly not a happy man after the match in a must-win Group B game. Iran were knocked out of the tournament after one win, one defeat and one draw in the group stage.
Queiroz said Ronaldo should have been sent off for what he did and Iran should have been awarded at least one more penalty.
Queiroz also implicitly criticised the refereeing and renewed his attacks on the VAR system.
“Only one winner could come out in this game and it should have been Iran,” Queiroz told reporters. “We deserved to win. I am a bad loser, I am proud but frustrated.”
Queiroz was incensed by an incident in the 80th minute when Ronaldo sent Pouraliganji to the ground. The referee consulted the VAR to see if it was a red card, then decided to hand the Portuguese captain a yellow.
“An elbow is a red card. The rules do not say what if it is Ronaldo or Messi. It is a red card. The decisions must be clear,” Queiroz said.
“I am not in a good mood, as you can see. There could have been at least one more penalty against Portugal, at least one. Five guys sitting upstairs and they don’t see an elbow. Give me a break,” he said.
Victory over Portugal in their final Group B match would have seen Iran through to the knockout stage. The underdogs played with huge heart in a drama-filled match.
After a lovely strike by Ricardo Quaresma put Portugal ahead on the stroke of halftime, Iran fought back and a stoppage-time penalty by Karim Ansarifard secured a draw. But with Spain and Morocco drawing 2-2 in the other Group B match, it was not enough.
PIQUE GETS LUCKY
In an another such incident Spain defender Gerard Pique also survived a straight red card for a two-footed tackle against Morocco on Monday.
In the ninth minute of their 2-2 draw, Pique went in for a challenge on Morocco’s Khalid Boutaib with all studs showing but somehow managed to get minimal contact with the Moroccan.
Forget red, the Barcelona defender also escaped a yellow card.
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