It was a call that baffled many, both at the ground in the UAE and in living rooms in Australia.
When Mexican referee Cesar Ramos awarded Syria a penalty in the 80th minute of a crucial Asian Cup clash against Australia, it was hard to see why.
Star striker Omar Al Soma crumpled to the turf on Wednesday (AEDT) as Syria launched a harmless free-kick into the arms of Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
After a moment's thought, Ramos blew his whistle - a decision met with a mixture of disgust and bemusement by Australia's players.
Replays showed it was one of Al Soma's own teammates who had tripped the striker as he ran into Australia's penalty area.
The Syrian stepped up and slotted the controversial penalty to level the match at 2-2 and send the Syrian players and fans into frenzy.
"He didn't give me much of an explanation when I asked," Socceroos captain Mark Milligan said of the bizarre call.
"But I don't have a whistle in my hand.
"It's football, these things happen. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they go against you. We can't control that."
Despite a late onslaught, Australia secured their passage to the competition's second round and eliminated Syria from the tournament when Tom Rogic stroked home a 93rd-minute winner.
A suitably dramatic end to a drama-filled match.