Video ref ‘de­nies’ Por­tu­gal

It’s al­ready ap­par­ent that new sys­tem needs a lot of work ahead of World Cup next year

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - DPA

POR­TU­GAL and Mex­ico drew 2-2 in their first Group A match at the Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup yes­ter­day with both sides scor­ing late goals and the new video as­sis­tant ref­eree sys­tem tak­ing cen­tre stage.

Por­tu­gal, wear­ing black arm­bands in trib­ute to the vic­tims of the Por­tuguese wild­fires, thought they had gone ahead through Pepe but the video as­sis­tant ref­eree ruled the goal out for off­side.

They soon did go 1-0 up on 35 min­utes, how­ever, when Ri­cardo Quaresma scored fol­low­ing clever play by Cris­tiano Ron­aldo but Mex­ico hit back in the 42nd minute through a bul­let-div­ing header from striker Javier Her­nan­dez.

Cedric Soares made it 2-1 to Por­tu­gal with a de­flected ef­fort four min­utes from time but Mex­ico’s Hec­tor Moreno then headed in the equal­izer in stop­page time.

Both sides are now level in sec­ond spot in the group af­ter hosts Rus­sia beat New Zealand 2-0 in the tour­na­ment opener on Satur­day.

CONCACAF Gold Cup cham­pi­ons Mex­ico made all the early run­ning with­out fash­ion­ing a clear-cut chance at the Kazan Arena.

They were made to pay as Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Por­tu­gal grew into the game.

Cap­tain Ron­aldo, linked in the me­dia with a move away from Real Madrid af­ter be­ing ac­cused of tax fraud in Spain, thumped the cross­bar from dis­tance and from the next pas­sage of play Pepe had the ball in the net.

The play­ers ran off to cel­e­brate but around half a minute later the ref­eree sud­denly sig­nalled he was talk­ing on the ra­dio with the video as­sis­tant ref­eree.

Af­ter another pause, he sig­nalled the goal had been dis­al­lowed be­cause of off­side.

TV re­plays showed four Por­tu­gal play­ers had been in an off­side po­si­tion as the ball was played into the box but the re­fer­ral was over so quickly, it was dif­fi­cult to see who was among the four.

The video as­sis­tant ref­eree sys­tem is be­ing tested at the tour­na­ment to see if it will work at next year’s Fifa World Cup, also in Rus­sia, and teething prob­lems are al­ready ap­par­ent.

Por­tu­gal quickly ral­lied from the dis­ap­point­ment. Ron­aldo found him­self in space on the left and played a su­perb pass in­side the box to Quaresma, which out­foxed the Mex­ico de­fence and left his team­mate with an easy fin­ish.

Quaresma soon dragged another ef­fort just wide but Mex­ico burst back into life when Por­tu­gal de­fender Raphael Guer­reiro com­pletely missed the ball and Vela did well to cross for Her­nan­dez to head home.

The sec­ond half was a dull af­fair un­til Por­tu­gal’s Adrien Silva went close be­fore Soares put Por­tu­gal back in front with his de­flected shot. The video ref­eree also took a while check­ing the va­lid­ity of the goal but it was al­lowed.

Moreno then popped up to head a corner in off the post for a share of the points.

The Con­fed Cup, which brings to­gether the con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­ons, world cham­pi­ons and the next World Cup hosts, acts as a dress re­hearsal for the next year’s World Cup.

Aus­tralia play Ger­many in to­day’sonly match in a Group B en­counter at Sochi.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

LAST GASP: Mex­ico’s Hec­tor Moreno, along with Javier Her­nan­dez and Oribe Per­alta, cel­e­brates scor­ing his side’s sec­ond goal against Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Por­tu­gal in their Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup en­counter last night.

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