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Italy's fear, Ukraine's drama: European media blasted referee for penalty kick not awarded to Mudryk

Italy's fear, Ukraine's drama: European media blasted referee for penalty kick not awarded to Mudryk Mykhailo Mudryk expected to be a co-creator of the victory of the Blue and Yellows (Photo:

Leading football observers are disappointed with the decision of Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano not to award a blatant penalty to the Italian national team at the end of the match against the Ukrainian national team.

An overview of the latest European sports press is in RBC-Ukraine's selection.

The controversial episode in the decisive qualification match in Group C occurred in the third added minute. Zabarnyi from the right flank played into the penalty area to Mudryk, who fell after contact with Cristante. The replay showed that the Ukrainian played the ball, and then the opponent hit his leg.

However, the Spanish referee decisively waved his hands, signaling that he would not award a penalty in this episode. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, which supposedly appeared in football to resolve such controversies, did not help. Manzano did not receive a recommendation from his colleagues behind the monitors to review the moment.

The next day, European media provided a unanimous verdict – the referee was at least obliged to evaluate the episode in replays from different angles. It is not about bias against the Ukrainian national team but rather about a simple mistake and unnecessary self-confidence in his actions.

"It is strange that Jesús Manzano was not called from the VAR room to review the replay, even though it was not entirely clear whether there was enough contact between the Italian defender and the Ukrainian striker from Chelsea to award a penalty," wonders Mundo Deportivo journalist Pepe Hill-Vern.

"It seems that the contact between Cristante and Mykolenko is obvious in the replays, but Manzano may not have seen it in the dynamics of the episode against the background of fatigue because the pace of the game was insane. Therefore, it is more of a question for VAR, which remained silent. At the same time, the Spanish referee signaled to continue the match," confirms the negative assessment of the referee's actions in L'Equipe.

"What happened in the last minutes when Mudryk fell in someone else's penalty area after contact with the defender made all of Italy gasp and tear their hair out. It seemed that Manzano would award a penalty, but he decided not even to review the video replay. Strange decision that allowed Italy to breathe a sigh of relief and qualify for the Euros," even acknowledged in the Italian La Repubblica.

Finally, the Romanian Gazeta Sporturilor recalled the words, spoken or unspoken, by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin about the "catastrophe if Italy does not qualify for the European Championship." Commentator Daniel Grigore is categorical in assessing the refereeing – "It was a real robbery." He reminded that as a result of Hil Manzano's mistake, the Ukrainian national team likely lost a direct ticket to Euro 2024.

Thus, Ukrainian football folklore has gained a new nickname for the referee. Hil Manzano joined Fredriksson, Pedersen, Kashshai, and Mateo Laosa. Nevertheless, the "blue-yellow" have not yet lost their chances to qualify for the European Championship. In the spring, Serhiy Rebrov's team will face the play-offs of the Nations League.