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Now that's a heart-breaker (Edmonton Sun)

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Now that's a heart-breaker

Canada hosed by referee in draw


# Canada settles for a single

All that is wrong with international soccer - particularly that shady brand they play in Central and South America - reared its ugly head at Commonwealth Stadium last night. In as dirty and greasy a finish as you're ever going to see in a sport that doesn't allow folding chairs off the top ropes, Mexican referee Benito Archundia took away a sure Canadian victory and crushed their World Cup chances with two ghastly calls in the final two minutes.

He gave Honduras a bogus goal in the 88th minute, then took away a Canadian winner in the 89th. And just like that, Honduras escapes like thieves in the night with a 1-1 draw, while the dumbfounded Canadians are dead men walking on the road to Germany 2006.

"Thank God the games are televised now and everyone can see it with their own eyes,'' said Canadian defender Mark Watson. "You always get bad calls, but to make such crucial calls at a crucial stage of the game is devastating.''

You had to see it to believe it. With Canada up 1-0 with two minutes to play, Archundia gave Honduras a penalty kick after Honduran striker David Suazo lost his balance and fell in the box. Replays showed he and Watson never even touched.

"I don't know what the referee saw, it was a terrible call,'' said Watson. "I know for a fact I didn't touch him. I don't know what to say. It's tough to take at the moment. I'm sure TV has a couple of replays of it, so it's there for everybody to see.''

If that wasn't enough, the Canadians raced down the field and went up 2-1 in the final minute on Olivier Occean's goal, but Archundia raced to the scene and whistled the play dead on a foul.

Again, replays showed that Maynor Figueroa was never touched, but he faked like he was shot. First he grabbed his face, then his knee and was eventually hauled off on a stretcher.


"It just seems to be the way things go for us,'' said defender Jason de Vos, who put Canada up 1-0 in the 82nd minute. "We never seem to get decent officiating. It doesn't matter whether we play home or away, but that's just part and parcel of playing in CONCACAF.

"It just happens against us. Their guy slips, falls over in the box and all of a sudden they're getting a penalty to tie the game. They come out happy as anything because they picked up a point on the road - and we're gutted because we should have picked up all three.''

Canadian coach Frank Yallop says he's never seen back-to-back calls like that in his life.

"Never,'' he said. "And I've been around a long time. I won't use the word cheated, but that would come to mind.''

It came to a lot of minds last night. To players from more respectable leagues, Central American faking, writhing and shady refereeing is always a shock to the system.

"It's always a source of frustration for us because we all play in Europe where the standard of refereeing is very good and they have all sorts of appeals processes, video appeals and whatnot,'' said de Vos. "If players are diving week in and week out they get found out, referees find out about it.''


The only guy who was worse at his job last night than the Mexican ref was the local ethnic radio guy, who asked Yallop if he should resign after the disappointing result. To his credit, Yallop didn't dignify the joker with a response.

At the other end of the hallway, the Hondurans were grinning from ear to ear.

"I thought the guy was tripped in the box and there was nothing wrong with the penalty,'' coach Raul Martinez said with a straight face. "And the goal that was taken away, his foot was up. We can understand why the Canadians would be very upset after losing the first game at home; they only have one point from two home games, but that's not our problem. We're happy with the result. We got the point.''

And Canada is in big trouble. With an 0-1-1 record after two home games, they need to go 3-0-1 in their remaining four contests, three of them in Central America.

They'll be without deVos (two yellow cards) and midfielder Paul Stalteri, who didn't even play last night but got red carded for throwing a water bottle in protest after the waved off goal.

"We showed today that we're just as good as they are,'' said de Vos, wishes they could have given the 9,654 fans at Commonwealth something other than the bitter taste they left with.

"We love playing in Edmonton, we always get very vocal support here. I'm disappointed for them that they couldn't be celebrating a victory because they deserved it.''


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Oh yeah, they do.

Worse, two cumulative yellows equals a suspension.

Can you believe that? If ever there was a rule designed to benefit bitch diving and crap ref'ing that was it.

I still think it's funny how international womens soccer makes a lot of these CA mens teams look like bitchs.

By the way. Good articule. Dosen't hide any feelings. Calls a spade a spade and that's pretty easy to do when you've got video evidence.

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