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By ESPN Staff

Moscow media accuse German referee of bias

MOSCOW, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Russian media has accused German referee Herbert Fandel of favouring Scottish champions Celtic over Spartak Moscow in their Champions League qualifier and jeopardizing Moscow chances of reaching the tournament proper.

'Pendal from Fendal,' blared Thursday's front-page headline in the mass-selling daily Sovietsky Sport, in a play on the Russian slang word for penalty.

'Fandel's mistakes could knock Spartak out of the Champions League. He disallowed a 'clear' goal by Spartak and also refused to penalise the Scots for a handball four times and award us penalties.'

Celtic held Spartak to a 1-1 draw in Moscow in the first leg of their third qualifying round on Wednesday to give themselves an edge ahead of the return leg in Glasgow in two week's time.

'The game of handball by Herr Fandel,' said the front-page headline in the other leading sports daily, Sport-Express.

'The referee set a unique record of missing four instances of handball and at the same time he did not count a clear goal by Roman Pavlyuchenko.'

Paul Hartley put Celtic ahead in the 21st minute before Pavlyuchenko levelled three minutes before halftime.

'I'm outraged. It was not an offside,' Pavlyuchenko, Spartak's leading scorer this season who was playing with a broken right wrist, told reporters in reference to his ninth-minute effort that was ruled out for a marginal offside.

Spartak coach Stanislav Cherchesov, however, refused to blame Fandel for his team's shortcomings.

'The referee was of the highest quality, he has also officiated at many top international matches,' the former Russia goalkeeper told a news conference.

'Besides, I don't want to judge those over whom I have no control.'