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The Tunisian referee from England’s notorious defeat by Argentina on the 1986 World Cup says he’s “proud and honoured” to have helped Diego Maradona rating the “aim of the century”.external-link.

Maradona, who died on Wednesday on the age of 60, beat a number of England gamers on a mazy dribble from simply inside his personal half earlier than scoring to place Argentina 2-0 up, 4 minutes after scoring the controversial aim he famously credited to the “Hand of God”.

Referee Ali Bin Nasser, now 76, additionally mentioned he had no choice however to award the primary aim and recalled how Maradona gave him a signed shirt after they met once more in 2015.

On the second aim of the sport, Bin Nasser informed BBC Sport: “He took off from midfield, and I used to be shadowing him intently. Once you’re refereeing somebody like Maradona, you’ll be able to’t take your eyes off them.

“They tried to take him down on three events, however his need for victory stored pushing him ahead.

“Each time I might shout ‘benefit’ till he reached the field.

“I used to be watching from outdoors the field, questioning how this participant shook off three defenders, and sprinted for practically 50 metres. I assumed ‘the defenders will attempt to take him down now’. I used to be anticipating that to occur and was able to whistle for a penalty.

“To my shock, he dribbled previous one other defender and the goalkeeper [Peter Shilton] to attain what would change into ‘the aim of the century’.

“I am proud and honoured as an individual and as a referee for having performed a task in that historic achievement.

“Had I whistled [for] a foul in any of the primary three contacts, we would not have witnessed one thing that magnificent. That benefit I gave is one my proudest achievements.”

Bin Nasser added that the 1986 quarter-final, performed in entrance of practically 115,000 followers on the Estadio Azteca in Mexico Metropolis was the “spotlight” of his profession, regardless of his choice to the controversial first aim.

“I bear in mind it vividly,” he continued.

“The English defender [Steve Hodge] had the ball, despatched it again and Maradona was within the air with Peter Shilton, and so they had been each going through away from me.

“They had been going through my assistant referee, the Bulgarian Bogdan Dochev.

“I used to be hesitant at first, I glanced over to Dochev, who was headed again to the centre of the pitch, confirming the aim. He did not sign for handball.

“The directions Fifa gave us earlier than the sport had been clear – if a colleague was in a greater place than mine, I ought to respect his view.”

Dochev, who died in 2017 aged 80, would later say that “Fifa didn’t permit assistants to debate choices with the referee”.

“If Fifa had put a referee from Europe in control of such an essential recreation, the primary aim of Maradona would have been disallowed,” he insisted.

Nonetheless, Bin Nasser says the sportsmanship proven by the England gamers was “lovely”.

He recalled: “Gary Lineker came visiting to me and mentioned ‘please referee, handball!’ I replied: Please play!’

“To me, that was 100% a aim based on Fifa pointers.”

Secret hopes

Lineker pulled a aim again for England with 9 minutes remaining after which got here near an equaliser.

“When England scored their aim, I secretly needed them to attain the equaliser,” admitted Bin Nasser.

“I needed to take pleasure in that recreation for 30 extra minutes. It was an absolute pleasure from begin to end.

“Regardless of the warmth that day, I needed issues to go on. It was a phenomenal recreation between two nice groups.”

Former referee Ali Bin Nasser with his photographs of Maradona
Ali Bin Nasser remembers the day Maradona got here to satisfy him in 2015

When Maradona got here to Tunisia in 2015, he visited Bin Nasser at his residence.

“I informed him ‘it wasn’t Argentina that received the World Cup that 12 months, it was Maradona’,” mentioned the Tunisian.

“He replied: ‘Had it not been for you, I would not have been capable of rating the aim of the century.’

“He gave me a signed jersey that mentioned ‘Para Ali Mi Amigo Eterna’.”

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