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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Sanchez rages at referee
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING GRP 6
Lawrie Sanchez says the referee gave a ''strange display''
Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez hit out at Italian referee Domenico Messina after watching his nine men hold Wales to a 2-2 draw in Cardiff.

Sanchez was livid when first Michael Hughes was red-carded along with Robbie Savage and then goal-scorer David Healy followed them for an early bath.

''I thought the referee was very disappointing,'' said Sanchez.

''I think he got lost in translation over David Healy's celebration. His family were up in the stands.''

Sanchez was also aggrieved that Mr Messina did not punish Welsh goalkeeper Paul Jones when he came out of his area and handled the ball.

''The referee obviously doesn't think that the keeper holding the ball outside the area is a deliberate hand ball.

''He knew what he was doing and he was stopping us from attacking with the ball despite the fact that he was holding on to it.

''I also think there was a very good penalty appeal when Tony Capaldi was brought down in the second half.

We got a point and that's positive, but we should have had three
Lawrie Sanchez

''I've been involved with some referees on a Caribbean tour, and to be fair he outdid them.

''Let's just say there was a strange referee display this evening.

''But on saying that, we left the field with all the glory,'' said Sanchez whose side were 2-0 up when they were reduced to nine men in the 22nd minute.

''As a manager, I'm naturally disappointed in that we should have won the game. We stopped them having any chances with a man less.

''We got a point and that's positive, but we should have had three. We were a better team with a man less, thanks to the referee.

''The only way we can take it on from here is to get three points in Azerbaijan which Wales failed to do.

''I said to the players that if they play the way they did against Wales they will qualify.''




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Interview: Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez




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