Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Lionel Messi’s extra-time goal broke rules & should have been disallowed

Lionel Messi’s dramatic extra-time goal for Argentina in the World Cup final shouldn’t have stood as new images emerge.

Argentina led 2-0 in normal time before Kylian Mbappe pegged them back, took the lead once more and thought they’d done enough after Messi scored in the second half of extra-time.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward set up Lautaro Martinez and was able to react fastest when Hugo Lloris saved the initial effort.

Messi wheeled away in celebration and was smothered by team-mates as well as players from the bench, who ran on to the pitch to flock to the skipper.

But, before the effort crossed the line, a couple of Argentina substitutes can be seen creeping onto the pitch, near where the dugouts were placed.

Clearly anticipating a headline moment, two players wearing orange bibs can be seen on the pitch, which, according to FIFA rules, should result in the goal being ruled out. Polish referee Szymon Marciniak should’ve given a free kick to France instead and kept the score at 2-2.

Official FIFA rules state: “If, after a goal is scored, the referee realises, before play restarts, that there was an extra person on the field of play when the goal was scored the referee must disallow the goal.”

French outlet L’Equipe has been among those to pick up the mistake and made their feelings clear. The newspaper wrote: “Except that the goal is invalid If we strictly apply the rules. When Messi volleys Hugo Lloris’ save, some emotionally-charged Argentine substitutes are already on the pitch, ready to celebrate. Which is strictly prohibited.”

The man in the middle, Marciniak, himself a former player, has been praised for his display at Lusail Stadium. He awarded three penalties throughout the 120 minutes, but also booked Thuram for a late dive when he appealed for another spot kick.

L’Equipe has taken great issue with the referee’s performance. Their editor-in-chief wrote: “The Pole Szymon Marciniak, experienced Champions’ League referee, did not rise to the occasion, even less so to his job. The penalty awarded on Angel Di Maria was very soft, not too different to the one refused on Marcus Thuram.

“How did Cristian Romero, responsible for so many brutal fouls, finish the match without a yellow card? How did Mr Marciniak not book the Argentinians when they chopped down counter-attacks through any means necessary, shirt pulls, cynical fouls and bangs? How was Emiliano Martinez able to grab the ball, during the penalty shootout, and throw it far away from [Aurelien] Tchouameni without the official intervening?”

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