Ghana legend Paintsil weighs in on Ronaldo’s VAR penalty controversy
Ex-Black Stars full-back John Paintsil has told GOAL he can’t understand why the referee didn’t turn to VAR
WHAT HAPPENED? Portugal took the lead in Thursday’s victory over Ghana when Mohammed Salisu was deemed to have fouled Cristiano Ronaldo in the box. A penalty was award—from which Ronaldo scored—but replays appeared to indicate the award of a spotkick was unfair. The referee’s decision not to consult VAR has prompted intense discussion among Black Stars supporters; it ultimately proved costly as Ghana fell to a 3-2 defeat.
WHAT DID THEY SAY? “Definitely it was too harsh,” John Paintsil told GOAL. “There was no strong contact on the ball, but from the referee’s position, the thinking was that it was a penalty.
“I’m surprised the VAR didn’t call him to have a look at it, we’re still wondering why,” he continued. “For me, it wasn’t a penalty, from where I was sitting, from where VAR was sitting.
“If they’d called a check, we could have had a look at it, but nothing like that happened.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The penalty stood, Portugal took the lead through Ronaldo, before Joao Felix and Rafael Leao added to the advantage. Andre Ayew and Osman Bukari pulled goals back for the Black Stars, before Inaki Williams’ late slip cost them a draw, and Ghana ultimately lost their third opening match at a World Cup 3-2.
WHAT’S NEXT? The West Africans will next face South Korea in their second group game on Monday, before meeting Uruguay in their deciding fixture on Friday. The Black Stars would be eliminated with a defeat against the Asian heavyweights, who themselves held Uruguay 0-0 in their opener. Ghana have been in this situation before, losing their opening match in both 2006 and 2014. In the former tournament, they succeeded in progressing to the knockouts, in the latter, they were eliminated at the first hurdle.