Football fans, mostly Moroccans, have taken to social media to condemn the yellow card given to Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal by referee Cesar Ramos during the Qatar World Cup semi-final match against France on Wednesday.
Many believe the referee’s decision should have turned in favor of the Africans and they should have been awarded a penalty instead of being booked.
During the semi-final clash, Theo Hernandez gave France the opening goal just five minutes after a goalmouth scramble.
Morocco put up late pressure on France but the defending champions secured their place in Sunday’s showpiece final when substitute Randal Kolo Muani sealed the victory with his first touch in the match.
Meanwhile, there’s been an uproar over referee Cesar Ramos as many accused him of being biased while officiating France and Morocco match on Wednesday.
Referee Cesar has gotten tons of criticism from fans who believed his decision to issue a yellow card to Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal is irrational.
During the first half of the World Cup semi-final between France and Morocco, Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech found space through France’s Theo Hernandez.
The French defender then regained his stamina, before a foul touch inside the box saw him fall Sofiane Boufal.
Many expected the referee to punish France for the foul but the collision was given in favor of France, with referee Cesar Ramos penalizing the fouled player and handling Boufal a yellow card.
Even though replays pointed out that the referee ruling could have easily gone in favor of Morocco by way of a penalty but Cesar Ramos did otherwise and this didn’t go unnoticed by the angry spectators.
The controversial decision angered fans as they posted their complaints online with one stating: ‘That was closer to a penalty to Morocco than a yellow for Boufal. Shocking call in.’
One of the fans agreed by saying: ‘He got a yellow card instead of a penalty for Morocco’ and then added a facepalm emoji.
One fan slammed the referee as he said: ‘Joke of a call by the referee, this was not a foul on Morocco at all, but certainly not a yellow card.’
Another tweeted after the game, labeling the decision as shameful. The post read: ‘Shameful decision by the referee, where Morocco had to get a penalty, they got a yellow card for that.’
One of the fans said the referee celebrated France’s opening goal and concluded Morocco wasn’t winning even at the mid-game.
Above all was a cheeky tweet showing a fake version of Cesar Ramos’ Wikipedia profile, where he is now described as a ‘French fan’.
France will face Argentina in the 2022 Qatar World Cup final after the reigning champions beat Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Who is referee Cesar Ramos?
Cesar Ramos, who officiated France and Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar is a Mexican professional football referee.
The 38-year-old Mexican has been a full international for FIFA since 2014.
Cesar refereed matches in CONCACAF Champions League, the 2018 FIFA World Cup the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Mexican was the only referee from his country in the 2018 Russia World Cup and he also officiated the Club World Cup final between Real Madrid and Gremio in 2017.
Before Wednesday’s match, Ramos has already officiated a game involving Morocco at the Qatar World Cup tournament which saw Morocco win 2-0 in Group F against Belgium, which sent the African nation to the point of qualification for the knockout stages.
In the match, there was not any uproar from Moroccans over any of Cesar’s decisions as he handed out two bookings in that match; one to each side.
But after yesterday’s defeat to France, football fans, especially Moroccans saw no one to blame except Cesar Ramos for a decision that seems very much professional to him.
Perhaps, there would not have been any noise if Morocco had won but that couldn’t be after France showed they were the boss by sealing their victory with another goal.
Despite their defeat, Morocco has made history by becoming the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final.