The whole of Nigeria was let down yesterday when Super Eagles lost to Argentina 2-1 in an intense match that frayed nerves.
With the game tied at 1-1, Nigeria players surrounded the referee when it appeared that Marcos Rojo handballed the ball in his own penalty area in the second half of the clash. The match official used VAR, but decided against awarding the spot-kick, much to the dismay of Nigerians.
Super Eagles might have had a possible win if they were awarded the penalty. Nigerians felt they were robbed by the Turkish referee, Cuneyt Cakir.
Rojo later sent Argentina through with a late goal to make the score 2-1, but Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel feels his team were hard done by.
“I don’t understand how that wasn’t a penalty, for me it was a clear handball,” he said, according to FourFourTwo.
“It was a clear penalty. Maybe the referee has given the first penalty and doesn’t want to give a second one.
“But a penalty is a penalty. He (the referee) looked at the VAR, (we asked him) did the ball hit the hand? He said ‘yes’, but why it’s not a penalty? I don’t understand.”
Nigerians worldwide however felt cheated and they stormed social media to express their anger and lucky enough, they were able to fish out the Instagram account of Cakir, where they have since been dropping several insulting and derogatory comments.
The Turkish referee’s Instagram page has since garnered over 20,000 comments from angry Nigerians. Some even went as far as wishing death upon him and raining curses on his children.
One angry user wrote; “Useless son of a b*tch how could you decide not to give the penalty even your VAR team knew it was a penalty all you do is to say ball to hand May Allah in his mercy punish you, and Judge your accordingly ,your fellow Turkish citizen will pay for this, the only way they is if they are not on dating sites, go rot in hell”
Another had this to say; “God will punish you …Heaven will reject your soul..even the devil will see you coming and he will close his gate for what you did …useless fool”
See some screenshots below:
Iran were awarded a penalty during a meeting with Portugal on Monday after Sardar Azmoun nodded the ball onto the arm of Cedric.
Technology was also used in that incident, but Nigeria missed out on getting a favourable call 24 hours later.
Mikel, as captain of his country, led the discussion with referee Cuneyt Cakir and, despite appearing to have been informed that the ball had struck Rojo’s head first, the former Chelsea midfielder claims to have received no suitable explanation as to why a spot kick was not given.
But video replays suggested that there was no intent from Rojo to move his arm anywhere near the ball, as he was looking in a different direction when he headed it sideways. It thus appeared unintentional as Rojo headed the ball inadvertently down onto his arm.
While Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr also believed the penalty should have been awarded, he was more understanding of Cakir’s position.
“I believe it was a hand,” he said. “I didn’t see the video. It is difficult for a referee to make a good interpretation.”
Argentina will go up against France in the Round of 16 on Saturday afternoon, while Nigeria were sent home.