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We were robbed by referee, say furious Senegal

CAIRO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Angry Senegal players said the referee robbed them of a chance to reach the African Nations Cup final after refusing a clear penalty in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by hosts Egypt.

Senegal playmaker Diomansy Kamara was brought down by Egypt defender Ibrahim Said towards the end of the semi-final. Cameroon referee Divine Evehe appeared ready to award a penalty before deciding to award a goal kick instead.

'Of course we were robbed,' Kamara told reporters. 'There was a clear penalty, you can see the (television) pictures.

'The referee has to give it, it's the same rule for everybody whether it's at home or away.But he doesn't give it and we are eliminated.

'It's the turning point of the match. I see the ref and I think he's going to give it. He (even) goes towards the penalty spot....it's just unacceptable.'

Senegalese fury was heightened because Evehe had awarded Egypt a penalty in the first half, converted by captain Ahmed Hassan.

'He gives the first penalty and he has to give the one on me in the 90th minute. Egypt are in the final because of a refereeing error,' said Kamara.

AFRICA'S IMAGE

'We are disappointed...and I think Africa has taken a few steps back with this kind of refereeing.'

That view was shared by forward El Hadji Diouf, who also said he felt robbed.

'The Confederation of African Football has to take a look at the African game because the Europeans are going to laugh at us with refereeing like this,' he said.

There was a sense of deja vu about Tuesday's events as Senegal were also knocked out two years ago by hosts Tunisia following another controversial refereeing decision.

'In Tunisia we didn't deserve to go out and today we didn't deserve it either...we have to look at refereeing again,' said Diouf.

Asked if it was a penalty, he said: 'Of course it was and the referee looked all ready to blow his whistle. Now I know it's the host nation but that's not sport.

'Sport is about the best team winning...this defeat is hard to accept.'