Referee baffles fans with ‘exuberant’ penalty signal in USA vs Mexico clash
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Referee John Pitti had fans in stitches after his dramatic gesticulations as he awarded two penalties during USA's win over Mexico on Sunday night.
The United States won the Concacaf Nations League after beating their big rivals 3-2 at the Empower Field in Denver.
Christian Pulisic was his nation's hero after scoring a penalty deep into extra-time in an electrifying encounter.
Mexico twice went ahead during the first 90 minutes with Borussia Dortmund star Gio Reyna first equalising before Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie got the second with the game edging close to the end.
As the clash delved into the second-half of extra-time, Chelsea's Pulisic was fouled by Carlos Salcedo in the box after being pulled down to the ground.
The referee did not initially give a penalty but after considering a video review the Panamanian official changed his mind.
And fans have noted the exuberant style in which he did so, making a wide square to denote the usage of VAR before slowly pointing to the spot.
Pulisic would go on to convert the penalty before further drama was added to the contest.
Another spot-kick was given to Mexico with seconds left on the clock but Ethan Horvath, who replaced the injured Zack Steffen in the 69th minute, saved Andres Guardado's effort.
The match was also marred by homophobic chanting, which forced the game to be halted for three minutes in extra-time.
Reyna also had to come off after being struck in the face with a missile from the crowd while a fan also ran onto the pitch at one stage.
US manager Gregg Berhalter was horrified by the abuse, who admitted the situation could have been worse.
“Total lack of respect for what’s happening on the field and all effort that both teams are putting into the game,” he said.
“I think [Reyna] is going to be OK, but he did take something to the head, and it could have been a lot worse.”
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