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21st Jun 2018

Morocco players claims referee asked Ronaldo for Portuguese player’s jersey during game

Not exactly the behaviour one would expect from an official

Patrick McCarry

Portugal are ticking along nicely at the World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo is doing Cristiano Ronaldo things and Pepe is being Pepe. All is good in the world.

Portugal defeated Morocco 1-0 on Wednesday, with Ronaldo stooping to head home the winner, while Pepe was just walking around, heading the ball away from his box while acting like he typically does.

Just about everyone watching the clash was in stitches at the defender’s antics, especially when he received a light tap on the shoulder by Medhi Benatia. Those who were not laughing were just disgusted at his play-acting.

Benatia’s teammate Nordin Amrabat was not happy with Pepe, but was even more livid with how American referee Mark Geiger oversaw the game.

Amrabat, who plays for Watford, went so far as to accuse the ref of being star-struck but Portugal’s two Real Madrid stars.

In a post-match chat with Dutch television channel NOS, the former PSV Eindhoven man said:

“I do not know what he is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano Ronaldo, and I hear from Pepe that he asked in the first half if he should have his shirt.

“What are we talking about? At the World Cup? It’s not a circus here.”

Did Geiger get the jersey or was Pepe just winding up his opponents again?

Geiger, who reffed Portugal when they were in last summer’s Confederations Cup tournament, angered the Moroccan players for failing to rule out Ronaldo’s goal as they believed a couple of defenders had runs obstructed.

Herve Renard, head coach of Morocco, spoke angrily with the American and his match officials on several occasions during the game.