Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has revealed his conversation with the centre referee Cuneyt Cakir following the official’s decision to overrule a penalty appeal by the West Africans.
Odion Ighalo made a desperate appeal for a penalty, with Cakir consulting VAR but needing only one replay to dismiss the claim, with Rojo having headed the ball into his arm.
Speaking to the media after the game, as cited in BBC Sports, the former Chelsea midfielder said: “It was a clear penalty for me. If you look at the Portugal game yesterday, this wasn’t close to that. This was worse. We have seen it again in the dressing room. It was a clear handball.
“The referee looked at the VAR. He said it hit the hand. I asked why he didn’t give the penalty, but he said he didn’t know.
“We will be really ready for the next World Cup. This team will do great things. It’s a shame we couldn’t continue the amazing journey we’ve had.” said Mikel
A lacklustre Argentina were on the verge of an embarrassing exit, before Manchester United defender Rojo surged into the area to place Gabriel Mercado’s cross into the bottom corner. It was a result they scarcely deserved after a poor second half showing, epitomised by the Javier Mascherano error that allowed Victor Moses to equalise with a penalty.Argentina will face Group C winners France in the last 16 in Kazan on Saturday, while Group D winners Croatia, who secured top spot by beating Iceland 2-1, play Denmark.