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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK

Scolari defends Rivaldo

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has leaped to the defence of striker Rivaldo who faces possible action from Fifa for cheating.

Scolari also accused the media of blowing up the incident which saw Turkish defender Hakan Unsal sent off in a stormy end to Brazil's 2-1 win.

Rivaldo could be charged under Fifa's clampdown on players faking injury after he dramatically went down clutching his face after Hakan Unsal kicked a ball at his legs.

" Rivaldo made a defensive movement because the ball hit him on the leg and was travelling upwards "
Luiz Felipe Scolari

Hakan Unsal received a second yellow card and was dismissed for the offence, but Rivaldo has been widely criticised for his conduct.

Barcelona striker Rivaldo could now find himself in hot water, but Scolari defended his player's reaction.

Scolari said: "Rivaldo made a defensive movement because the ball hit him on the leg and was travelling upwards.

"The ball hit him on the hand because he was protecting his face."

Scolari also rounded on the media, accusing them of exaggerating the incident.

" Obviously I exaggerated the injury for the guy to be sent off "
Brazil striker Rivaldo

Brazil's coach said: "The press is saying Rivaldo is going to be punished because they think that is the most interesting story.

"But the importance of the incident has been exaggerated."

Rivaldo's defence may be undermined by his own admission that he feigned injury.

He said: "Obviously I exaggerated the injury for the guy to be sent off.

"The ball hit my hand and my leg.

"It didn't hit me in the face but that kind of attitude must not be allowed on the pitch.

"He deserved a red card."

" Rivaldo held his head and fell down like he was having a brain haemorrhage "

Haluk Ulusoy, Turkish FA head.

Scolari also defended referee Young Joo Kim, who also sent off Turkey's Alpay in awarding Brazil a controversial match-winning penalty.

Alpay's foul on Luizao appeared to be outside the penalty area, but Scolari dismissed Turkey coach Senol Gunes' claim his side had suffered an injustice.

Scolari said: "I thought the referee was good.

"Of course I thought the penalty should have been a penalty.

"The referee didn't make a mistake and he was not a problem during the game."

The head of Turkey's football association, Haluk Ulusoy, also criticised Rivaldo's actions.

He said: I do not condone or approve of Hakan Unsal's action but Rivaldo held his head and fell down like he was having a brain haemorrhage despite the ball hitting his legs - it was acting."


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