The decision of American referee Ismail Elfath to award a dubious penalty for Portugal against Ghana has sparked global outrage.
The 40-year-old is in the eye of the storm after he refused to take check with VAR for a second opinion on the controversial decision which has brought technology on its knees.
The Moroccan-born American official refused to have a second look on the VAR monitor and judged Mohammed Salisu's challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo as a foul.
However, television replays have shown the referee got it wrong and that decision should never have stood.
This shameful decision has sparked outrage around the world, with many questioning the essence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to reduce such unfortunate incidents.
The dubious penalty awarded to Portugal changed the complexity of the game as Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cup as the Europeans were made to sweat to win 3-2 in Doha on Thursday night.
And the reactions around the world has been immense and mind blowing.
Ismail Elfath! It took an African to rob an africa team, Ghana. The enemy is always one of yours.
That penalty still hurts. 😭 pic.twitter.com/0nZOBr7RAP
— BestForYou (@boblittle125) November 24, 2022
Referee Ismail Elfath: You were not fair to @GhanaBlackstars in this #Qatar2022 #FIFAWorldCup game against @selecaoportugal, that they lost 2-3. @Cristiano did not deserve that penalty you gave. Why did you not use #VAR? Why? At least you should have checked! 🤷🏾♂️😐 pic.twitter.com/NkchFj4fEL
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) November 24, 2022
Dear @FIFAcom, this is a public protest asking you to review and suspend this referee, Ismail Elfath. He’s an apology of a referee and shouldn’t be doing this at this level. Game changing decisions without remorse - @SaddickAdams FIFA | Robbery | Nigerians | #racism pic.twitter.com/nNCu5Ba83L
— 𝓢𝓜𝓑𝓸𝔁 ❼ (@smbox_gh) November 24, 2022
Shame on Ismail Elfath. Ghana 🇬🇭 Portugal 🇵🇹 Game!! pic.twitter.com/mMiR5UvonM
— #MrCaveMan #GenerationalThinker (@KobbyKyei_) November 25, 2022
No VAR check for this? Wow!!!
— Elvis (@elvisofosuohene) November 24, 2022
“I just wanted to be able to tell my grandkids I officiated a World Cup match that Ronaldo scored in.” -Ismail Elfath on his penalty decision pic.twitter.com/J5zkW9xkb8
— ShogieGaming (@ShogieGaming) November 24, 2022
— NoVar (@evtwumasi) November 24, 2022
This’s the most disgusting officiating I’ve ever witnessed in a long while..
Referee Ismail Elfath 🤮 🤢
— OBAINO CONSULT (@iam__obaino) November 24, 2022
— the.blaq.guy (@blaqguy14) November 24, 2022
— McMaster 🇬🇭🇬🇧 (@Kwame_UTD) November 24, 2022
Shame on you Ismail elfath, that is never a penalty and you knw it is not, shame on you @FIFAcom
— ABJ OF LAGOS💙❤️ 🇳🇬 (@SeptLibRer30) November 24, 2022
That was a poor officiating from Ismail Elfath pic.twitter.com/mUrZIs9C3x
— Abibiduro hotspot (@AbibiduroHotsp2) November 24, 2022
Hello @FIFAcom,can your referee review panel Ban and send home referee Ismail Elfath.Not only was he bias but shown the tendency of racism when he emphatically refuse to use an alternative decision making tool VAR.His act changed the course of the game.Bad refereeing#Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/dVqSid3Vxl
— Nutifafa Bequine (@nutifafabekoe) November 24, 2022
Ismail Elfath ignored The VAR in the Ghana 🇬🇭 vrs Portugal 🇵🇹 game , my question why ? Even the Blackstars players was urging him to check it from THE VAR but still ignored them . This is pure robbery
— BORGA 🇬🇭 (@KyeibaffourWil3) November 24, 2022
Ismail Elfath is a racist
— @Robert (@TristanRobert7) November 24, 2022
1.Gave out a controversial penalty 2.Didn't check 2 goals which could be flagged offside. Ismail Elfath needs to be brought to book immediately..... He is a damn #racist Was Var man of the match Abedi pele fraud. #FIFAWorldCup #Qatar2022 #GHa pic.twitter.com/AQgVWXtZ2X
— Harrison Jr 🦧 (@_harrisonjr) November 24, 2022
Referee Ismail Elfath is very pathetic!!! Don’t know why FIFA allows such a person to handle a game at this level. Not even worthy to handle an elementary school soccer game.
— Michael Prempeh (@mprempeh1) November 24, 2022
Dear @FIFAcom,this is a public protest asking you to review and suspend this referee, Ismail Elfath. He’s an apology of a referee and shouldn’t be doing this at this level. Game changing decisions without remorse.FIFA | Robbery | Nigerians | #racism pic.twitter.com/IBNlYiIie7
— Mbabila (@viggle1) November 24, 2022
Why didn’t they use the VAR ?
That was a poor officiating from Ismail Elfath !! pic.twitter.com/3Q58bBk40N
— #MrCaveMan #GenerationalThinker (@KobbyKyei_) November 24, 2022
Robbed in 2010 Robbed 2022 What did Ghana do? @FIFAcom
— Harrison Jr 🦧 (@_harrisonjr) November 25, 2022
— Della Russel (@IamClassPee) November 24, 2022
Dear @FIFAcom and @FIFAWorldCup you claim football unites together yet you support #racism How on earth was the a penalty "Ismail Elfath" must be called to check Let's know if there had been new amendment of the rules Always cheating Africa#racism pic.twitter.com/PlSSkr6GDN
— Isaac Amoquandoh (@Amis1799) November 24, 2022
Ismail Elfath is a referee that in @MLS will check VAR for a corner kick or foul in midfield. At the biggest stage he gave a PK to Portugal that wasn’t a penalty here or in Jupiter. The worst call of the tournament from the area MLS has never grown in… refereeing.
— Kelvin Loyola (@KelvinLoyola) November 24, 2022
Mike Dean 🗣🗣
" it’s scary that the referee wasn’t asked to go take a second look at the Salisu incident on the VAR screen"
— George Addo Jnr (@addojunr) November 25, 2022
Even Mike Dean feels Ghana were “cheated”. Says it’s scary that the referee wasn’t asked to go take a second look at the Salisu incident on the VAR screen! It’s unfathomable. pic.twitter.com/L5IIamJwQ7
— Fentuo Tahiru Fentuo (@Fentuo_) November 24, 2022
The world has been stunned by the refusal of referee Ismail Elfath to take a second look at his initial decision.
After Ronaldo converted the controversial penalty, it wasn't long before Ghana came back, with Andre Ayew slotting the ball past the Portuguese keeper at the 75th minute from a pass from teammate Mohammed Kudus.
Soon after, Joao Felix put Portugal back in the lead at minute 78, with Rafael Leao widening the lead two minutes later.
Ghana's Osman Bukari managed to close the gap in minute 89, but it was too late for the Black Stars to come back.
Uruguay and South Korea, the other two teams in group H, ended their game earlier today with a 0-0 draw.
The controversial victory places Portugal in an early lead as the team aims to make it out of the group stage.
By Patrick Akoto, Doha