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Ref 'sorry' over handball howler

The Women's World Cup suffered an embarrassing incident on Sunday night as an Equatorial Guinea defender held the ball in her hands in the penalty area for several seconds, only for the referee to continue play.

In Australia's 3-2 win over Equatorial Guinea, Australian forward Leena Kharmis hit the post and the ball rebounded to defender Bruna, who caught it, held it, and then dropped it to the floor before the goalkeeper picked it up to clear.

Hungarian referee Gyoengyi Gaal failed to spot the incident, despite protests from the Australian players and FIFA match official Karen Espelund was forced to admit the error after the game.

"We all know that there was an incident. We have spoken to the referee. She said that she's very sorry for not seeing such a clear handball," she was quoted as saying by German magazine kicker at the post-match press conference.

The West Africans equalised shortly afterwards but Australia went on to win the game 3-2.

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