I used my hand to score but it was an accident, insists Fabiano

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Luis Fabiano has admitted to using his hand in the build-up to scoring "one of the most beautiful goals" in his career in Sunday night's victory over Ivory Coast. The Seville striker ended his 2010 drought with the national team by hitting a double as his side comfortably beat the west Africans 3-1 in the much-anticipated encounter at Soccer City to take charge of Group G.

There was plenty of criticism after the game from Elephants manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was upset with referee Stéphane Lannoy for handing out what he described as a "free goal". But Fabiano said he did not intend handling the ball.

"Well that is true, it seems as though the ball hit my hand," he said. "It seems the ball hit my hand and the second time it hit my shoulder.

"But in order to make the goal more beautiful, there had to be a doubtful element. It was a spectacular goal and I believe it was not a voluntary handball.

"It was a legitimate goal and it was one of the most beautiful goals that I've scored in my career. It was magnificent and where better to score such a goal than at the World Cup?"

The goal came at crucial moment in the game, enabling the South Americans to take a 2-0 lead. Elano then added to the advantage, with Didier Drogba grabbing a consolation 11 minutes from the end of normal time.

There was still time for Kaka to be dismissed following a second yellow card – another controversial moment in the game which saw the Real Madrid midfielder, who struggled in his first season at the Bernabeu, clash off the ball with Kader Keita, who appeared to go down too easily.

But Manchester City defender Kolo Touré felt the Fabiano incident was critical in the context of the game and also blasted the French official. He said: "The problem is that the referee asked the player if he had touched the ball. How can a referee ask a player if he committed a foul? It was an important moment."

But Fabiano was not concerned, with his two goals taking his international tally to an impressive 25 strikes in 39 matches and he was just pleased to have found form his again.

He added: "The two goals were very important for me as I hadn't scored for five games before this one, so things worked out well for me, thank God.

"But the most important thing is that we won the game and we are all to be congratulated, not only myself, and I will also like to dedicate this victory to the Brazilian team as a collective.

"It was a very difficult game that we played against a fast and physical Ivory Coast team.

"But what was key for Brazil is that we managed to play our own style and dominated the game from the beginning."

Touré, though, was not embarrassed to lose to Brazil, saying: "We were beaten by a team that is the best in the world.

"We tried our best in this match but it was always going to be difficult against a team that has won the World Cup five times before and has that experience of always being at the finals."

And the former Arsenal defender was hoping for some luck to help Ivory Coast progress to the next round.

He added: "We obviously still feel that we have a chance and hope that luck will help us go through to the next round."

Meanwhile, Fifa yesterday confirmed they had not yet received any official complaint from the Brazilian Football Confederation regarding Kaka's red card on Sunday night.

Kaka wants to take advantage of his red card against Ivory Coast by getting in shape for the decisive stages of the World Cup. The Brazil playmaker remains displeased after being sent off late in the win over Ivory Coast but says the forced time off means he will be able to focus on improving his physical conditioning for the rest of the tournament.

Kaka will miss the final Group G match against Portugal in Durban on Friday. Brazil, with six points from two games, have already secured their place in the next round. Kaka played well against Ivory Coast but struggled in the opening match against North Korea following a season plagued by injuries with Real Madrid.

Argentina coach Diego Maradona tried to lower the rising expectations for his team yesterday, insisting that arch-rivals Brazil are still the favourites to win the World Cup. "Brazil doesn't play well but it finishes off the matches when it has to. That's why they're still the great favourites."