A blown call by Malian referee Koman Coulibaly in today's World Cup game against Slovenia cost the U.S. an 88th minute goal that would have put the score 3-2 and possibly given the team a win and 3 more points for the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Coulibaly made curious calls throughout the game, his first officiating a World Cup match. Not even maligned baseball umpire Don Denkinger (maker of the "The Call" in the Game 6 of the Cardinals-Royals 1985 World Series) did that.
In the video you can see the set kick from mid-fielder Landon Donovan crossed into the box where second half sub Maurice Edu nailed it off his right foot into the back of the net. Coulibaly appeared to call son of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley and midfielder Michael Bradley offside even though Michael Bradley was being cut out and shielded from behind by a Slovenian defender.
It's one of the most baffling calls ever made and sparked confused outrage from the U.S. team and fans, as there was no idea why the goal was disallowed.
In Landon Donovan's first post-match interview (via ESPN), he said he still didn't know what the call was and why the goal didn't count.
"I'm a little gutted to be honest," Donovan said. "I don't know how they stole that last goal from us. I'm not sure what the call was. He (the referee) wouldn't tell us what the call was."
It's a small miracle the U.S. team had a chance to win at all -- after a dismal first half that rivaled that the team's 2006 appearance in the World Cup in Germany where the team played the Czech Republic and lost 3-1. Bradley made a starting lineup change before the match to start central midfielder Jose Torres who had many mishandles and bad passes in the first half leading to strong possession from the Slovenian opposition.
The U.S. still has a strong chance at advancing out of the group after its big comeback today, if it can beat Algeria in its final group match (Wednesday, 9 a.m. CT).
In the meantime, enjoy this great photo of Donovan's first goal in the second half almost kiss Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovič before it goes into the back of hte net.
Picture from Getty Images.