Czech Republic star Patrik Schick left in bloody mess after brutal Dejan Lovren elbow before scoring pen at Euro 2020

BLOODIED Czech star Patrik Schick bagged a controversial penalty after his face was clattered by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren.

Croatia were furious as ref Carlos del Cerro Grande consulted VAR but still gave the spot-kick for what looked a freak accident from a 50-50 aerial duel.

Schick coolly slotted home the 37th minute penalty opener to leave 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia struggling for their Euro 2020 survival.

Social media and TV pundits mainly blasted the spot-kick award.

And Croatia's sense of injustice was obvious as they struggled to regain their composure following the decision.

Both Lovren and Schick seemed to go up with their elbows swinging naturally.

And in fact Zenit St Petersburg's ex-Liverpool centre-back Lovren had his back to the ball when his arm whipped into Bayer Leverkusen ace Schick.

But Lovren was still booked, as well as conceding the penalty.

BBC TV studio experts Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker slammed the ref's verdict,especially as the official went over to watch video replays of the clash.

And even Czech legend Petr Cech had big doubts.

Former England and Manchester United defender Ferdinand said: "Without VAR this is definitely not a penalty – it doesn't get looked at and it doesn't get talked about.

I dont think it should have been a penalty. Their arms are both in the air.

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"i don't think there's any intention there for Lovren to go and hurt his opponent.

He actually wins the ball as well. Schick is on his blind side too so he doesn't see him until the last moment."

Lineker argued: "To me it was an absurdity."

And ex-Chelsea and Arsenal keeper Cech, who won 124 caps, was also baffled.

He said: Cech:  "If the players are supposed to be in control of their bodies, obviously here he lost a bit of control and hit him on the face maybe with excessive force. Maybe the wording justified the decision.

"It's hard to imagine how else the defender is supposed to jump.

"The players need the momentum to head the ball and they'll always be these little clashes."

Twitter generally condemned the penalty award, with fans labelling it "atrocious" and a "shambles".

But a few armchair viewers believed Schick was rightly penalised – for "high elbows".

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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