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Sunderland's Steve Bruce labels Liverpool goal a 'joke'


Bruce brands Liverpool goal a 'joke'

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce labelled referee Stuart Attwell's decision to award Dirk Kuyt's opening goal in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool as a "joke".

Michael Turner was ruled to have taken a free-kick on which Fernando Torres pounced, and passed for Kuyt to score.

Turner claimed he passed the ball back for the keeper to take the re-start.

"The first goal is a joke. The only person who knew it wasn't intentionally taken was possibly the referee," Bruce told BBC Sport.

"However I watched him and he went to his whistle three or four times, he even looked for the linesman. Everybody in the ground knew Turner was kicking it back to where the free-kick should have been taken from.


"But to respond the way we did I couldn't be more pleased."

However, an organisation which represents referees says it has reviewed the goal and believes the correct decisions were made.

A statement from the Professional Game Match Officials said: "According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to 'indicate the restart of the match'.

"In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the re-start by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal.

"For the more important 'ceremonial' free-kicks, which also involve control of the defensive wall, referees can indicate by using the whistle. However, there is no requirement by law to use the whistle to make the indication.

"The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it is kicked by a Sunderland player.

"Also, the laws state that the free-kick must be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case, the referee correctly determined that the free-kick was played from the right place."

Bruce, though, insisted his side had been treated unfairly.

"It was unjust, unfair and wrong. The referee should pull it back and let play start again," he said.

"Liverpool have got away with one. For him to miss something like that, I'm sorry but he shouldn't be doing that at this level.

"We'll talk about refereeing decisions until I'm blue in the face. What it'll never hide is the performance of the team after that.

"I thought we were absolutely fantastic and it's unjust we haven't gone away with the three points."

Following the controversial goal, Christian Poulsen's handball allowed Darren Bent to equalise from the spot for Sunderland and the striker put the Black Cats in front with a header before Steven Gerrard nodded in for the home side to earn a point.

Bruce also felt Liverpool skipper Gerrard was fortunate not to be sent off, suggesting the midfielder led with his arm on a challenge on Danny Welbeck.

Hodgson reflects on 'strange week'

"I'm the biggest admirer of Gerrard but he has gotten away with one," said the Black Cats boss. "If that was [Sunderland midfielder] Lee Cattermole I guarantee that would have been red card."

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson believed Attwell made the right decision to award Kuyt's goal, but was wrong in giving what he called a "compensatory" penalty against his side for Poulsen's offence.

He also suggested an early Torres effort was wrongly ruled out for offside.

"It wasn't the result we wanted but in many ways it was the performance we wanted," he said after changing all 11 players from the midweek Carling Cup loss to League Two Northampton.

"We had a very bright start and we could have been 2-0 up because I think Torres' first goal which was disallowed for offside was incorrectly ruled out, but we lost our way.

"But I thought the penalty they got was fairly compensatory because I don't prescribe to accidental handball, for me handball has to be intentional.

"We suffered the cold shower of going 2-1 down in the second half and after that I thought the reaction was really good.

"We dominated the game after that and created lots of chances but only scored from one of them.

"I think over the 90 minutes we were more than worth the point we got."

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see also
Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland
25 Sep 10 |  Premier League

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