Atletico de Kolkata denied late equalizer by controversial goal-line decision

Luis Garcia's injury time strike looked to have bounced inside the goal but the officials took a different view which robbed Atletico of a point.

Atletico de Kolkata were denied an away draw against Kerala Blasters as Luis Garcia's injury time effort was adjudged to have bounced on the line rather than behind it. The away side therefore suffered a 2-1 defeat that kept them from regaining top spot in the Indian Super League (ISL).

Controversy reared its ugly head in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Atletico desperately pursued an equalizer. Jofre Mateu's cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Fikru Tefera into the path of his skipper Garcia. The Spaniard's volley hit the under side of the crossbar and bounced inside the goal before coming out. The linesman however ruled that the ball had not crossed the line, much to the despair of the Kolkatan players and bench alike who broke into frantic remonstrations with the officials.

The decision was greeted with huge cheers from the home support whose side maintained their third spot but moved to within a point of their opponents in second place in the league standings. 

This isn't the first time Garcia has been a central figure in a goal-line dispute. In the semi-finals of the 2004-05 Champions League, the tie between Liverpool and Chelsea was decided over two legs by a single goal from the Spaniard that sent the Merseyside club to the finals where they pulled off a dramatic win over AC Milan to lift the prestigious trophy.

Garcia's infamous "ghost goal" against Chelsea in 2005

On that occasion, the ball appeared to have been cleared off the line but the assistant referee decided that it had crossed over and the goal stood. That infamous controversy has since become the reference point for all goal-line disputes and was dubbed the "ghost goal". The opposing manager, Jose Mourinho described it as "a goal that came from the moon".

However, on the flip side, the referee Lubos Michel later revealed that had the linesman not signalled for a goal, he would have sent off goalkeeper Petr Cech for the initial foul on Milan Baros, thereby reducing Chelsea to ten men and awarding Liverpool a penalty.

Nevertheless, Lady Luck did not smile at Garcia on this occasion as his effort for Atletico de Kolkata was ruled out. With the Premier League boasting the introduction of goal-line technology, one wonders how long it will be before leagues across the globe avail of the same conclusive tool. Antonio Lopez Habas and his troops will no doubt feel hard done by as they travell to Pune next.


Follow Brendon Netto on Twitter - @BrendonNetto