Experienced retired English Premier League referee Mike Dean has slammed American referee Ismail Elfath for awarding Portugal a penalty in their 3-2 win over Ghana in the Group H opening game at the FIFA World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opening goal from the penalty spot, hammering in after the referee awarded a highly contentious penalty for Portugal after an apparent dive from the former Manchester United forward following a close incident with Mohammed Salisu.

The American referee immediately pointed to the spot resisting all attempts to have a second look at the incident on the video assistant referee despite protestation from the Ghanaian players.

Speaking as a referee expert on Bein Sports, the fomer English Premier League referee was mystified as to why the VAR did not call the American center referee for an on-pitch review describing it as 'scary'.

Captain Ronaldo had a couple of chances early on but a low shot was saved by Lawrence Ati-Zigi and he also headed wide at the far post.

The forward had a goal disallowed for a push on Alexander Djiku while at the other end, Ghana did not have a single shot in the opening period.

The Black Stars improved in the second half as Mohammed Kudus’ shot went wide of the post after a decent build up from midfield.

Ghana captain Andre Ayew equalised from close range as he tapped in a cross from Baba Abdul Rahman after the Portugal defence failed to deal with it.

Few minutes later, Portugal responded with two goals in two minutes to close the contest as Joao Felix converted a delightfully clipped finish and substitute Rafael Leao coolly stroking in just seconds after coming on.

With the heading to an end, Osman Bukhari headed in a late consolation for the lack Stars and there could have been real drama in the ninth minute of stoppage time as Inaki Williams intercepted a ball from Diogo Costa but the Athletic Bilbao forward slipped at the crucial moment and a feeble shot was cleared off the line.

The win means Portugal top Group H with 3 points after Uruguay and South Korea played out a goalless draw early on.

Ghana will play South Korea on Monday, November 28, while Portugal takes on Uruguay in the other Group H match.