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Jan 7, 2013

Mansfield chief: We feel replay was stolen

Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford has said she feels an FA Cup replay was "stolen" from the non-league club by Luis Suarez's controversial goal for Liverpool.

Suarez, who came on as a substitute, scored the decisive second goal in his side's 2-1 third-round victory at the One Call Stadium on Sunday - but clearly handled the ball before finishing.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers defended the Uruguay international after the match, saying the handball had not been intentional.

But Radford felt Blue Square Bet Premier side Mansfield, who went into the game 93 league places below their opponents in the football pyramid, had been hard done by.

"I've absolutely enjoyed the day, but I have to say it is a little bit like it's been stolen from us," Radford said.

"Whether it's deliberate or not, I really do feel that it should be sorted out.

"We are a very good side and we put up a sterling effort. We are very proud of ourselves, and it's very unfortunate that referees and officials can't pick up these things.

"It should be clarified and sorted out as soon as possible, because obviously it wasn't in our favour and we should be going through to a replay at least."

Mansfield manager Paul Cox and his players were reluctant to criticise Suarez, suggesting they would have taken such a goal had they scored one in similar circumstances.

Striker Matt Green, who scored Mansfield's consolation goal, said: "Goalscorers don't care how it goes in the net. I'm not saying that's the right way to put it in the net, but you claim anything as a striker.

"If it had been at the other end, I think I'd have taken it. But it's gutting to be put out of the FA Cup by something like that against such a big club."

Rodgers, meanwhile, insisted Suarez had done nothing wrong. He said: "I'm not sure what people want Luis to do in that situation. It's not up to him. The ball has hit him. It's nothing deliberate.

"That's the job of the officials to make the decision as to whether it's deliberate or not.

"But he's got thick skin. He's had it throughout his career and life in this country as a football player.

"I think people are starting to talk about the ability the boy has. We're talking more and more about that, because he's a brilliant talent."

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