For a brief period, Cristiano Ronaldo believed he had passed Eusebio as the all-time leading scorer for Portugal at the World Cup, as reported by BBC.
Everyone was persuaded by the Portuguese forward’s joyful celebrations that his head had made the final touch on Bruno Fernandes’ cross to score the decisive opening goal in his nation’s 2-0 victory over Uruguay.
It was also going to be his ninth World Cup goal, tying him with the great Eusebio, and it sent Portugal on their path to qualifying for the knockout rounds with a game to spare.
But then confusion set in. Although Ronaldo was unmistakably sure that it was his goal, the replays did not support this.
Soon after being handed credit for scoring the goal, his former Manchester United teammate Fernandes received it instead.
Who touched the ball?
As Fernandes’ name was announced as the goal scorer over the public address system, cameras switched to the 37-year-old, and his bewildered face captured the astonishment of most onlookers. Who was the goal scorer? A query with which we might never truly come to terms.
But goals like this one are often reviewed by a Fifa panel, which will examine it thoroughly to determine who applied the finishing touch and, thus, to whoever the goal should be awarded.
Therefore, Ronaldo may still receive credit for the goal in the future.
Later, Fernandes added a second goal from the penalty spot and Portugal easily advanced to the round of 16.
“I don’t believe it matters who touched the ball,” said Fernandes after the game. “At the time, I thought Cristiano touched the ball and I was passing to him but all that is important is that we got through.”
Prior to the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Ronaldo had expressed a desire to surpass Eusebio’s World Cup record. He started by scoring in Portugal’s 3-2 victory against Ghana in the tournament opener to become the first player to score at five World Cups.
And while Fernandes received praise after the last whistle because Ronaldo appeared to be satisfied, the controversy raged elsewhere.
Matthew Upson, a former West Ham defender, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I believe Bruno Fernandes scored the goal. The replay I can see in front of me and the fact that the ball doesn’t change course are the only sources of proof I have. If there is a glancing header, you typically observe the ball change rotation or direction slightly.
“It won’t go down as Ronaldo’s goal on the scoresheet and that is what he is bothered about because he thrives off those records. But it is his goal in the sense that his presence and his run caused it.”
While 5 Live commentator Ian Dennis added: “Good luck to the Fifa official who has to go into the changing room to tell Cristiano Ronaldo he hasn’t scored that. Bruno Fernandes has been credited with it.”
Talk about a close call though…
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) November 28, 2022
Journalist Piers Morgan, perhaps unsurprisingly, was in no doubt about who he thought the goalscorer was…
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 28, 2022
A tweet that brought the expected response from social media as it became evident Ronaldo would not be equalling the record on Monday.
“Flat line on Ultra Edge, no contact with head. I'm going to recommend you overturn your decision and award the goal to Bruno Fernandes…” pic.twitter.com/khVC13rQGS
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) November 28, 2022
Had a bad day?
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) November 28, 2022
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