Cristiano Ronaldo Livid After Lack Of VAR Denies Him Last-Minute Winner

It looked like Cristiano Ronaldo had scored a late winner for Portugal, but instead he’ll have to settle for a 2-2 draw with Serbia.

BELGRADE — Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic became his country's all-time top scorer on 39 goals from 63 international appearances after he netted in a 2-2 home draw with Portugal in a thrilling 2022 World Cup Group A qualifier on Saturday.

The Serbians fought back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils as Fulham striker Mitrovic pulled one back in the 46th minute and Filip Kostic levelled after a Diogo Jota double had given Portugal a 2-0 lead in the first half.

The match had a controversial climax as Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a clear stoppage-time winner for Portugal when Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic cleared the ball after it had crossed the line as shown by television replays.

But with no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in place, Dutch referee Danny Makelie waved play on and Ronaldo saw his follow-up shot cleared off the line before he was booked for dissent.

Seconds earlier, Serbia defender Nikola Milenkovic was sent off having received a straight red card for a rash challenge on Portugal midfielder Danilo Pereira.

Liverpool forward Jota fired European champions Portugal ahead with an 11th-minute header from a superb Bernardo Silva assist and added another in the 36th as he glanced a Cedric Soares cross from the right.

But Serbia roared back at their Rajko Mitic stadium and halftime substitute Nemanja Radonjic, who engineered both their goals, gave his markers a roasting after the break and also drew a fine save from Portugal goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

The result left both sides on four points from two games as Serbia edged Ireland 3-2 at home in their opening game on Wednesday while Portugal eked out a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.

The outcome also made for a bittersweet milestone for Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who reached a rare milestone of 1,000 games as head coach at club and international level combined in his 33-year long career in the dugout.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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