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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Fulham's Brown defends high tackle on Cole

Michael Brown insists there was nothing sinister about his high tackle on Ashley Cole.

The foul occured in the closing minutes of Fulham's derby game against Chelsea, when Brown appeared to go over the ball on Cole.

Referee Mark Halsey gave a free-kick but decided not to book the Fulham midfielder.

Brown said: 'I don't think there's a problem with it, is there?

'The ref said it was a foul. I said yeah. It was just another tackle.'

It looked much nastier on the slow-motion replays and Brown may find himself in trouble with the Football Association.

The Fulham midfielder escaped serious punishment on the opening weekend of the season when he made an ugly two-footed tackle on Ryan Giggs at Manchester United.

Referee Andre Marriner showed Brown a yellow card on that occasion, leaving the FA powerless to discipline him further.

This time, however, referee Halsey can claim he missed the severity of the challenge and ask for it to be reviewed by the video panel.

Fulham were beaten 2-0 at Craven Cottage by two Frank Lampard goals inside the last 17 minutes.

Lampard's first was a penalty after Liam Rosenior handled the ball, but Fulham were angry not to get a spot-kick in the 54th minute when the game was still goalless.

Petr Cech saved bravely at Brown's feet but the ball spilled out of his grasp and, when the midfielder tried to react, the goalkeeper grabbed his foot.

Halsey blew his whistle but it was to award a free-kick to Chelsea for a foul on Cech.

Brown, who produced an outstanding midfield display, said: 'We've no complaints about their penalty.

'Liam said he fell and his arm came around and the ball hit his arm.

'It's a definite penalty but you have got to look at the one with me going through.

'I've challenged the goalkeeper and, as I'm going to poke it in, he (Cech) has grabbed my foot.

'I've seen it on the TV and it's a definite penalty.

'The ref maybe thought it was a dangerous tackle but I didn't hear the whistle until I'm about to poke it in - rather than before.

'He's got a couple of seconds to blow but then, as I'm about to put it in, he grabs my foot and then he changes his mind and decides it's a foul.

'If we get that decision it's a totally different ball game.'