Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 January 2018

'I don't think it was handball' -- Cox

Man of the Match Simon Cox in action
Man of the Match Simon Cox in action
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Man of the Match Simon Cox admitted that Ireland may have ridden their luck last night in the incident which saw goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky sent off.

The Armenian stopper raced from his line as he saw the West Brom striker control the ball -- possibly with his hand -- before his shot was stopped by, what the referee thought, was the arm of the goalkeeper.

"It just came over my shoulder and I tried to control it," Cox said. "Some you get, some you don't but I don't think it was a handball by the keeper."

The striker, however, was delighted with his night's action, and with Robbie Keane an injury doubt, plus Kevin Doyle definitely out through suspension, he knows he has given the manager some options up front.

"If the manager chooses me then great, if he chooses Jonny Walters and Shane Long I can't complain."

The captain, meanwhile, said he will do everything he can to get fit for Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off next month, even if it means taking painkilling injections.

The LA Galaxy striker suffered a Grade 2 tear of his glute in the 2-0 win over Andorra last Friday and normally it rules a player out for four to six weeks. But the Tallaght native will be hoping that his record as a quick healer helps him back in time for the first play-off on November 11 or 12.

He has taken painkilling injections before to play for Ireland, but asked if he would do so again Keane said: "Of course I would. This is different, it's a muscle injury and not just pain. It was a grade two tear -- grade three is the worst, but its disappointing and I'll do my best to get back.

"I saw a specialist yesterday and hopefully that will speed the recovery up so I just have to wait and see. We'll know more in 10 days and I'll have to wait until then. I've never injured this one before, so I don't know how bad it's going to be or how long it is going to take to heal.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the travel to and from Los Angeles, it's just one of those things. I actually did it during Kevin (Doyle)'s goal, pulling the ball back to him. The adrenaline gets you through, but straight after the game, I knew that it was a tear. The medical facilities in LA are very, very good. Hopefully the doctors over there will get me back."

One striker who certainly had a bad night was Doyle whose initial yellow card ruled him out for the first play-off leg, before the red card thoroughly soured the night.

"The first one was a silly booking for me. I've slid in and made a tackle and didn't win the ball as I was just trying to get back and help," he said.

"That's a deserved yellow card. I accept that. It was my one tackle and I felt I didn't get anything when there were fouls on me. The second one, if I had deserved to be sent off I'd say so, or if I'd lost the head and done something silly, but I didn't.

"I just have to accept that the referee made a bad decision and was trying to even the game up in a way. I wouldn't like to go up and try to hurt someone on purpose and I didn't. As you could see he was up in five seconds and playing on, not a problem.

"Maybe I glanced him, or he headed my elbow. I didn't know he was there. I won the header and he's gone down on the ground and made a lot of noise and the ref's bought it, so be it," said Doyle.

Irish Independent

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