The referee that officiated the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final match between Argentina and England, Ali Bin Nasser, said it was one of his greatest achievements to allow Diego Maradona to score the goal of the century 4 minutes after scoring the ‘Hand of God’ goal.
In the second half of the game, Diego Maradona picked up the ball from the middle of the pitch and dribbled his way to England’s box-eighteen before he scored the goal which is regarded as the goal of the century.
On his way to scoring the historic goal, England’s players tried to stop Maradona by all means but were unable to do much despite the hard tackles inflicted on the late Maradona. Referee Ali Bin Nasser decided to allow play to continue despite the hard tackles the Argentine football icon got from English players.
With the power of Maradona’s skills and passion to finish up what he started, he found his way to England’s box-eighteen and scored Argentina’s second goal of the match. England’s Gary Lineker pulled one back for the Three Lions and the match ended 2-1 in favor of Argentina.
On Maradona’s goal of the century, Bin Nasser told BBC Sport that Maradona “took off from midfield, and I was shadowing him closely. When you’re refereeing someone like Maradona, you can’t take your eyes off them.
“They tried to take him down on three occasions, but his desire for victory kept pushing him forward.
“Every time I would shout ‘advantage’ until he reached the box.
“I was watching from outside the box, wondering how this player shook off three defenders and sprinted for nearly 50 meters. I thought ‘the defenders will try to take him down now’. I was expecting that to happen and was ready to whistle for a penalty.
“To my surprise, he dribbled past another defender and the goalkeeper [Peter Shilton] to score what would become ‘the goal of the century’.
“I’m proud and honored as a person and as a referee for having played a role in that historical achievement.
“Had I whistled [for] a foul in any of the first three contacts, we wouldn’t have witnessed something that magnificent. That advantage I gave is one of my proudest achievements.”
At the end of the tournament, Argentina won the World Cup by defeating West Germany 3-2 in the final. After the football icon who died on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, won the World Cup for Argentina in 1986, he became a football deity in Argentina.
Diego Maradona’s “hand of God” goal
Before Diego Maradona scored the goal of the century in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals against England, he scored one of the world’s most controversial goals. He used his hand to stylishly push the ball into England’s net.
He did it so perfectly that the center-referee, Ali Bin Nasser, and his assistant referees were unable to notice that it was a handball. The goal stood and 4 minutes later, he scored Argentina’s second goal of the match.
Years after the tournament, Diego Maradona was asked in an interview about the handball goal he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup final, Maradona responded by describing the goal as the ‘Hand of God’. Since then, the infamous goal is known as the ‘Hand of God’ goal.
“I remember it vividly,” Ali Bin Nasser, the Tunisia referee that officiated the match said.
“The English defender [Steve Hodge] had the ball, sent it back and Maradona was in the air with Peter Shilton, and they were both facing away from me.
“They were facing my assistant referee, the Bulgarian Bogdan Dochev.
“I was hesitant at first, I glanced over to Dochev, who was headed back to the center of the pitch, confirming the goal. He didn’t signal for handball.
“The instructions Fifa gave us before the game were clear – if a colleague was in a better position than mine, I should respect his view.
“If Fifa had put a referee from Europe in charge of such an important game, the first goal of Maradona would have been disallowed.
“To me, that was 100% a goal according to Fifa guidelines.”
One response to “Ali Bin Nasser, the referee that allowed Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal to stand finally speaks out”