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  Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Diouf denied dream debut
El Hadji Diouf holds off Patrick Vieira
Diouf (left) was seemingly fouled by Vieira

Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf started for Liverpool in the English season curtain-raiser, the FA Community Shield, but was denied a dream beginning to his season by a controversial penalty decision.

Liverpool lost 1-0 to the London side thanks to a Gilberto Silva strike.

But most observers felt that they were unlucky not to grab an equaliser after Patrick Vieira's clumsy challenge on Diouf inside the Arsenal area.

Diouf rode the challenge before falling spectacularly, but he was not cautioned for diving.

Vieira had earlier been booked for a near-identical challenge outside the area.

"It was a penalty," said Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who was playing alongside Emile Heskey with Diouf in a new position behind the front two.

"Just because he (Diouf) made a meal of it does not mean that it wasn't a foul."

The match, which was a phenomenally drab encounter, was riddled with poor tackles and penalty claims, but Diouf's was undoubtedly the strongest.

However, Owen said that Diouf's new team was not overly upset by the result.

"It's disappointing to lose, but it's not the be-all and end-all of the season," Owen said.

"There are more important matches to come."


New seasons kick off
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