posted on Jun, 7 2003 @ 03:28 PM
Albania coach Hans-Pieter Briegel accused Ireland of breaking the law of fair play after his team lost 2-1 thanks to an injury-time own goal.
Robbie Keane gave Brian Kerr's men a sixth-minute lead only for Ervin Skela to equalise two minutes later.
The controversy came two minutes into stoppage time when Albania kicked the ball into touch so that striker Igli Tare could receive treatment. When
play restarted, Ireland kept possession and scored the winner as substitute Gary Doherty's cross was sliced into his own net by Ardian Aliaj.
Briegel, who also claimed the Irish committed a foul when scoring their opening goal, said:
"Ireland are famed for their fair play, and Albania kicked the ball out because our player was injured.
"Ireland had the ball to throw back but they didn't give it to Albania. Make up your own mind, but Albania were expecting the ball back from the
"There is an unwritten law in football so we cannot make a complaint to Uefa, it is the law of fair play.''
However, Republic coach Brian Kerr defended his players and hit back by accusing the Albanians of unsporting behaviour in the way they constantly went
down seeking treatment.
"There was a lot of unsporting behaviour when their players looked like there was something wrong with them, but I didn't see an awful lot wrong with
them,'' said Kerr.
"There was also an incident in the second half after their goalkeeper was injured and play was restarted with the referee giving them the ball.
"They attacked us when our players assumed the referee was going to invite them to kick the ball into our half of the pitch. They didn't go about
their business in what I would have thought was a fair way."
Tottenham utility man Doherty, who played a key role in the winning goal, also dismissed Albania's claims and criticised Briegel's men.
He said: "They did it first. I know revenge isn't a good thing but if they did it first then fair play to us. Also, they went down a lot and we
thought it was a bit dodgy. Obviously that is in their game to go down and try and break up the play."