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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Ireland fuming over Henry's handball assist

Defender Sean St Ledger admits the Republic of Ireland feel ''robbed'' after France's controversial winning goal in their World Cup qualifying play-off.

• France 1-1 (2-1 agg) Ireland

Thierry Henry clearly handled the ball before setting up his former Arsenal team-mate William Gallas to head Les Bleus into the finals in South Africa next summer.

Robbie Keane's goal had earlier cancelled out Nicolas Anelka's first-leg strike to take the tie into extra time.

St Ledger told Sky Sports News: ''We got robbed, you can tell by the boys' reaction it hit his hand blatantly. We feel cheated - we were the better team over the two legs, every football fan in the stadium will say we were the better team tonight.

''It's cost a lot of us our dreams - as a boy I used to dream of playing in the World Cup, and now I'm not.''

And the 24-year-old, on loan at Middlesbrough from Preston North End, called for video technology to be introduced to prevent such controversies in the future.

''I don't understand why we haven't got replays in this day and age,'' he continued. ''You can get replays within 10, 30 seconds and it would have helped today.''

While St Ledger was critical of Henry for his part in the incident, he did not feel the forward's reputation in the game would suffer.

He added: ''He's said it hit his hand accidentally but if you look at it you can clearly see it hits his hand twice. I'm not sure (his reputation) has been tarnished - it doesn't look great but he's got his team to the World Cup finals.

''If it had been one of our team we'd have probably done the same. The blame doesn't necessarily fall on him but he's handled it, everyone can see it around the world.''


• Does Thierry Henry still deserve his place at the top of the Castrol Rankings following his controversial handball? Join the debate.

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