World of Sport

Ref allows goal despite two balls being on pitch

World of Sport

HJK Helsinki midfielder Juho Makela scored a critical but controversial goal in a Finnish top-flight match against FC Haka. Why controversial? Because there were two separate matches going on simultaneously.

Confused? So were most of the players involved, but the referee was unaware that there were two balls on the pitch at the same time, and that half the footballers (and all the TV cameras) were focused on a mundane throw-in on the halfway line.

Almost unbelievably, referee Mikko Lehtola awarded the goal - and in a quite staggering display of obstinacy then refused to listen to any of the players furiously pointing out what had happened.

Lehtola's pig-headedness seems unforgivable considering that a quick chat with the linesman observing the 'other' match would have cleared things up. Though we guess it could have been worse - the ref could have shown someone three yellow cards.

The goal stood, bringing HJK - who had been trailing 2-0 - back into the match, and they scored what proved to be an equaliser eight minutes later to earn a point which kept them clear at the top of the table.

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