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ANOTHER HAND OF GOD GOAL ROCKS WORLD CUP

By NBF News
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Portugal's striker, Simao Sabrosa, jubilates with teammates after hitting the net at the onging FIFA World Cup against North Korea.

Controversy is beginning to trail the Brazil's second goal scored by Luis Fabiano in the 3-1 defeat of Cote d'Ivoire at the Soccer City Stadium on Sunday. This is perhaps the first open controversial goal of the 2010 World Cup just as one of the qualifying series last November was put into controversy following the 'hand ball' goal of Thierry Henry which enabled France edge out Republic of Ireland.

Again, the current controversial hand ball goal has a French connection. The referee of the match is Stephane Lannoy of France. Luis Fabiano, the Servilia's deadly striker, who was the adidas golden boot winner at the Confederation Cup last year, had outjumped an Ivorian defender, expertly controlled the ball with his hand as he turned midair, handed the ball a second time before unleasing a terrific knee-level shot that the Ivorian keeper had know answer for.

But for the ball touching Luis Fabiano's hand twice, it was a beautiful goal. Like the 1986 World Cup Maradona's 'hand of God' goal against England, Luis Fabiano's goal, his second in the game, helped to shape the complexion of the match.

Television clips on SABC, the South African official broadcaster of the World Cup, showed the referee asking Luis Fabiano whether he touched the ball with his hand. Of course, what response would he expect from a goal scorer? Even, Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning coach, Luis Fellipe, who, along with Jay Jay Okocha, was a guest analyst on SABC, satarically said that it appeared there is a new FIFA rule on foul. 'If you touch the ball once, it is foul. But if it is twice, it is no longer foul, especially if there is a French-connection'. The studio was rocked with laughter.

It was a reference to Theirry Henry hand ball of last year and the fact that the referee in Sunday's game was also a Frenchman.

The controvesial goal was not the only sour point that the French referee inflicted on the match. His sending off of Brazil's Kaka is yet another talking point. Cote d'Ivoire's Kada Keita while on the run for the ball, and not looking where he was heading to, collided with Kaka who held his ground for the inevitable body collision.

Poor Kaka! He had earlier been cautioned. But this second one which should not have even attracted a free kick, let alone a caution, got the Brazilian midfielded expelled! The handling of the match may cause Lannoy to be denied of matches when the Round of 16 games begin next week. FIFA traditonally drop referees whose services will not be needed in the later part of a tournament. Frenchman Lannoy looks an automatic canditate for expulsion.