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Football: Fergie Fury At Offside Howler; Man Utd 0 Arsenal 0.

ALEX Ferguson yesterday left Villa Park fuming that a linesman's flag robbed Manchester United of an FA Cup Final spot.

Referee David Elleray ruled out Roy Keane's 38th minute "goal" in the stalemate semi-final which saw Arsenal's Nelson Vivas sent off after elbowing Nicky Butt. And after watching a video re-run of the controversial incident, the United boss stormed: "It was absolutely ridiculous. I have watched it on TV and it's quite amazing.

"But it doesn't matter. It wasn't a goal and we have just got to get on with it." Keane, himself, was more emphatic and said: "We all thought it was a goal. The linesman put his flag up but we didn't think it was off side. Arsenal are such a difficult team to break down and that's why it's such a disappointment to have the goal disallowed. We've now got to do it all once again on Wednesday night." The reffing row blew up after Ryan Giggs had flicked the ball towards the by-line.

Dwight Yorke was immediately spotted coming back from an offside position and the linesman's flag was raised.

Then suddenly it was lowered as Giggs swept over across, which was headed to Keane by Yorke. Strangely, the official raised the flag once more as Keane shot into the roof of the net. United's players rushed to the linesman complaining bitterly. They thought it was a perfectly legal goal. But after lengthy consultations with the official on the touchline, Elleray disallowed Keane's strike. The Harrow official waved away protests and was given one last earbashing by keeper Peter Schmeichel at the final whistle.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: "It was offside identified by the linesman. I don't know why you can complain. THE OFFSIDE RULE: A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by interfering with play or interfering with an opponent or gaining an advantage by being in that position.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Millar, Steve
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 12, 1999
Previous Article:Football: Wembley Shear We Come; Super Al takes Ruud back to Twin Towers: NEWCASTLE 2 SPURS 0.
Next Article:Football: Bloodied And Tired Giants Are Unbowed; FA CUP SEMI-FINAL: Man Utd 0 Arsenal 0 (aet).

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