Okocha Backs Ref In World Cup Final Penalty

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Okocha (left) with other icons Photo Credit : FIFA

Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has thrown his weight behind the Argentina referee of Sunday’s World Cup final, saying giving France a penalty against Croatia was the right decision by the arbiter.

‘Jay Jay,’ while speaking as an analyst of the grand finale in Moscow, Russia, stressed that the ref, Nestor Pitana was right to award a penalty to France in the first half, even as it allowed Les Blues romped to a historic 4-2 win.

An own goal from Mario Mandzukic gave France the lead in the 18th minute, only for Ivan Perisic to equalize ten minutes later after a deft free-kick delivery from Luka Modric.

The Inter Milan winger became the fall guy when his outstretched hand touched the ball, the referee eventually awarded a spot kick after consulting VAR, which was converted by Antoine Griezmann on 38 minutes.

Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 in their opening match of the 2018 World Cup, with Luka Modric scoring a penalty kick in the second half following a VAR decision in favour of the Europeans.

Though the Eagles were also denied a penalty from an obvious handball by Marcos Rojo of Argentina in their last group match, which VAR captured, Okocha says the case on Sunday was slightly different.

Okocha said: ”I think that’s VAR bang on, it was a clear penalty. Referee did not see it because it happened so fast.

”I know you can’t go for a header by raising your hand, but it wasn’t one movement, it was two movements there. ”

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