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Sep 8, 2005

Cocu on the defensive over Andorra red card

AMSTERDAM, Sep 8 (Reuters) - Dutch midfielder Philip Cocu said his red card during his team's 4-0 defeat of Andorra on Wednesday was unjustified.

Two goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy helped the Netherlands stay in command of the group, but Cocu is likely to miss their two remaining games against the Czech Republic and Macedonia.

Marco van Basten's team are top with 28 points after 10 matches and a draw against the Czechs will seal their place in next year's finals in Germany.

Hungarian referee Attila Hanacsek dismissed Cocu after 38 minutes on advice from fourth official Attila Dubraviczky.

'It absolutely was not a red card. I just blocked the player after he fouled (Rafael) Van der Vaart,' Cocu told reporters.

'I didn't elbow him and if the referee had to punish me a booking would have been enough.

'The fourth official ran on the pitch like a madman explaining the referee that it was an elbow.

'We all tried to keep calm but when the referee didn't do anything about their rough play, you have to take some action because you don't want to be slaughtered.'

Cocu will miss the match in Prague, but if his ban stretches to more than two matches he would also be unavailable for the first match of the World Cup.

Van Nistelrooy's double lifted his total to 25, one more than his coach Van Basten. The Manchester United striker needs another 15 goals to match Patrick Kluivert's total of 40.

United team mate goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who collected his 103rd cap, is now unbeaten in 706 minutes of World Cup qualification action.

'Next month in the Czech Republic we want to finish the job ourselves and not with a draw. We aim to finish in style with a win,' he said.