Portugal coach: This is the apology message I received from the referee who disallowed Ronaldo's goal
Cristiano Ronaldo appealed with officials after being denied what looked like a late winner. [Photo: Courtesy]

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has claimed “embarrassed” referee Danny Makelie has apologised for denying Cristiano Ronaldo’s winning goal on Saturday night.

The Juventus star thought he’d bagged a late winner against Serbia when he converted from a tight angle.

His shot clearly crossed the line and he began celebrating, but the goal was not given, much to his bemusement.

The officials clearly felt that Stefan Mitrovic had succeeded in his effort to clear the ball off the line.

Replays showed that they had made a huge error and Santos felt it was unacceptable in such a high profile game.

“We scored a goal that was not given when the ball went in,” he told Portuguese broadcaster RTP.

“In a match of this level, that isn’t possible.”

Portugal coach: This is the apology message I received from the referee who disallowed Ronaldo's goal
Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group A – Serbia v Portugal – Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia – March 27, 2021. Portugal coach Fernando Santos reacts. [REUTERS/Novak Djurovic]

He went on to say that the Dutch referee had apologised for his howler and called on VAR and goal line technology to be more regularly used.

“The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed. I was in the dressing room with him and apologised to me,” Santos added.

“He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise – and so it was.

“It is the second time in a qualifying phase that they apologise to me after the game.

“I told him on the pitch that there was no VAR or goal line – one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important – but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal.

“There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line. [it is a] problem because we drew. We have to rethink.

“The referees are human and make mistakes, but that’s why there is the VAR and the goal line technology to avoid this.”

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