- Referee Ismail Elfath has taken centre stage in discussions among football fans who watched Ghana's World Cup opener against Portugal
- Easily the most entertaining second half of the 2022 World Cup, the encounter was marred by controversial decisions by the American referee
- Key among these debated calls was his refusal to review a penalty and offside goal by Rafael Leao, which many believe cost Ghana the game
Football fans across Africa, who monitored Ghana's Group H curtain-raiser against Portugal, have been left appalled by some questionable refereeing decisions.
Ghana crossed paths with Portugal for the second time at the FIFA World Cup after their 2014 meeting in Brazil, which ended in favour of the Europeans.
Determined to exact revenge and record Africa's first win at the 2022 Mundial, Ghana began the game cautiously, managing to secure a goalless draw at half time.
Mike Dean: English Premier League referee shocked officials in Ghana versus Portugal game did not check VAR
But the cautious approach in the first stanza of the game gave way to some chaotic defending interlaced with controversial decisions, as the Black Stars of Ghana started on a losing note.
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Cristiano Ronaldo's 8th goal in five World Cup appearances, and a three-minute goal blitz from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao, rendered Andre Ayew and Osman Bukari's goals consolations.
However, following the end of the nail-biting clash, football fans across the African continent reckoned the Black Stars were given a raw deal by the officials.
Twitter reacts to the refereeing:
"So when it's against African teams then there's no VAR? Clear robbery against Ghana!"
"Daylight Robbery! NO VAR"
A passionate social media user @breathMessi21 stated with unmitigated certainty:
"Ghana was robbed, this should have been a draw but robberies in Football are so common these days even if it's a World Cup."
Angry Black Stars coach Otto Addo slams referee for gifting Ronaldo non-existent penalty against Ghana
@of_mansa believes Africans have been served a raw deal:
"Leao is clearly offside. No VAR check or anything. Utter garbage the way they treat African countries."
@brodaderek quizzed how a glaring offside did not attract the attention of the assistant referees or officials in the VAR room:
"How is this not an offside? Like how? Big Shame."
Fans blast referee over decision
Earlier, Sports Brief reported that football fans across social media vented their spleen on referee Ismail Elfath, for his strange decision not to review Ronaldo's penalty incident.
Portugal and Ghana played out a nail-biting five-goal thriller in their Group H opener at the Stadium 974 on Thursday, November 24.
Portugal broke the game's deadlock via the penalty spot before Ayew levelled the score shortly after. However, two goals in the space of three minutes saw the Selecao put the game out of reach.