England concede 'one of worst penalties' fans have seen as ref is labelled 'joke'
North Macedonia took a shock lead against England after being awarded a highly-controversial penalty via a VAR check in their final Euro 2024 qualifier
England fans were raging after "one of the worst penalties ever seen" was awarded to North Macedonia.
Three Lions debutant Rico Lewis was penalised after rising to challenge for the ball in the box, with his left hand striking Bojan Miovski on the head in the process.
After not awarding a foul on the pitch, Slovakian referee Filip Glova was instructed to visit the VAR monitor and have a second look at the incident.
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He watched it back several times before deciding to award the spot kick, despite Lewis' contact clearly being accidental. The Manchester City youngster, 18, was also booked.
Enis Bardhi stepped up to take the pen, with Jordan Pickford guessing right but the North Macedonian midfielder reacting quickly to turn home the rebound.
"That may be the worst pen I’ve ever seen given," argued one fan. Another echoed: "Probably the worst pen given since VAR, WOW." And a third fumed: "This ref is a joke."
A fourth commented: "Think that's the worst pen decision i have ever seen. The game is gone." While a fifth claimed: "I’ll actually stop watching this sport me if refs carry on that’s a joke."
Channel 4 pundits Joleon Lescott and Joe Cole were in agreement with the supporters watching on at home. Speaking at half-time Lescott began: "Very harsh, very hard done by.
"There’s no way he would’ve known the forward was closing him down. The fact he’s in the air and ran into the palm of his hand, it’s not an elbow. Yes there is contact but there’s no way that can be given as a penalty for me."
Cole, meanwhile, slammed the referee. "That’s absurd, the referee saw it in real time and you know the guys kidding him, rolling round on the floor. The ref, we’ve found one, he wants to be the star of the show," he said.
This is a developing story and there is more to come. Please refresh the page regularly for updates.