In a remarkably similar incident to yesterday's Frank Lampard ‘ghost’ goal against Germany, the Championship deciding game last month in Israel’s Ligat Ha’Al had an almost identical goal.
However, the conduct of referee Alon Yefet in Hapoel Tel Aviv’s 2-1 victory over Betar Jerusalem was very different than the Uruguyan Jorge Larrionda's behaviour yesterday.
In the 44th minute at Teddy Stadium with Hapoel leading 1-0, Betar’s Barak Yitzhaki shot from 25 yards. The ball hit Hapoel defender Walid Badir and looped over Nigerian international Vincent Enyeama, hit the underside of the bar, crossed the line and spun back into play.
Yefet, Israel’s top referee who frequently officiates in Champions League matches and World Cup qualifiers, waved play on. He was immediately surrounded by irate Betar players and decided to go over to consult with his assistant Nisan Davidi.
Although the referee and assistant could have communicated through their headgear the consultation took 75 seconds during which time the two men seemed to be waiting to hear from a third party in their earpieces. The Israeli media reported that Yefet had asked fourth official Eitan Shmuelvitz to look at the TV replay. After the 75 seconds wait the goal was awarded.
For Yefet to have used a TV replay would have been a serious contravention of Uefa and Fifa regulations and a breach of discipline. When contacted this morning by the JC, Yefet said: “I do not want to comment on yesterday’s England/Germany game. Regarding the match between Hapoel and Betar I did not use technology to help me in my decision.”
However, Avraham Klein the former Israeli referee who officiated in three World Cup finals and was the referee in the famous England Brazil game in 1970 when Gordon Banks made his remarkable save from Pele, said that technology should be introduced.
Commenting on the behaviour of Yefet in the Hapoel Betar match he said: “The Israeli officials headed by Yefet behaved properly. They behaved wisely and waited a number of seconds. As a result of the audio system at their service they made an alternative decision and that's the way to behave.”
On the behaviour of the English players yesterday Klein said: “As always the English players behaved like gentlemen. Had it been another national team suffering such a refereeing error they would not have let it pass so lightly.”
Some might argue that the players' reaction showed a lack of passion which is one of the reasons that England fail in every World Cup.
Despite conceding their controversial goal Hapoel went onto beat Betar 2-1 and win the Israeli championship, just as the feeling is that had Lampard’s goal stood England would still have finished second best.