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Palmeiras protests changed call

SAO PAULO -- Palmeiras wants its 2-1 loss to Internacional in the Brazilian league annulled because the referee allegedly used television images to disallow the team's second-half equalizer.

Palmeiras has officially filed a protest with Brazil's sports tribunal and requested a rematch because of the referee's decision to change his call in Saturday's match. The tribunal's decision is expected by next week.

Argentina striker Hernan Barcos used his hand to score the 62nd-minute equalizer, but the goal initially stood as neither the referee nor the linesmen or behind-the-net official saw what happened. The referee pointed to the center circle and his linesmen ran there, signaling a goal. Internacional players protested and the referee reversed his decision nearly five minutes later after talking to his assistants.

A TV reporter said a match delegate and fourth official asked the media if the replays showed the handball. The reporter's comments will be used by Palmeiras, although club directors admit it will be difficult to have the match reversed unless the referee confesses he received outside information.

FIFA bans any use of outside interference in the referee's decisions during matches.

The fourth official later said that he saw the handball himself and was the one who told referee Francisco Carlos Nascimento, using his communication device. But TV images also showed the delegate trying to talk to the match officials.

Nascimento said in his match report published by the Brazilian football federation that "there was nothing unusual" in the game, raising even more protests by Palmeiras.

The Brazilian club with the most national titles, Palmeiras is trying to avoid relegation to the second division for the second time in its history. With five rounds left, it is five points from safety.

Earlier this year, Nascimento was accused of using replays after he reversed a penalty call during a second-division match. After the ball was already on the spot, the linesman apparently told him that the alleged foul actually happened outside the penalty area.

Palmeiras also complained of Barcos being fouled during the contentious play on Saturday. As he tried to reach the ball crossed into the area off a corner, replays showed he was being pulled down by a defender.

"Of course I touched the ball with my hand and it went in, but it only happened because my arm went up as I was fouled inside the area," Barcos said. "Nobody there saw it, they only changed the call after the pressure from Internacional players and from the people on the sidelines."

The last time matches were replayed in Brazil was in 2005, when a referee confessed he tried to change the outcome of games because of a betting system he was involved in. Eleven matches had to be replayed, and the new results eventually helped Corinthians win the title.

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