Halilhodzic criticizes ANC refereeing

BY foxsports • January 15, 2010

Ivory Coast won and qualified for the quarterfinals at the African Cup of Nations on Friday.

Coach Vahid Halilhodzic still wasn't impressed by the refereeing.

Ivory Coast, which won its sole African title in 1992, became the first team to reach the knockout phase with a 3-1 win over Ghana.

Halilhodzic, the former Lille coach, praised his team's goals but didn't savor the decisions by South African ref Jerome Damon, who sent off defender Emmanuel Eboue for a reckless tackle on Agyemang Opoku in the 56th minute and awarded Ghana a penalty in stoppage time after Souleman Bamba brushed Asamoah Gyan.

"I'm really angry against the refereeing," Halilhodzic said. "It's too much now. We are going to discuss the matter with the federation's officials to see what we can do about this."

The Elephants had already been penalized by a refereeing error in their 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso when striker Didier Drogba was denied a penalty.

Halilhodzic also blamed the turf's poor quality that "hampered attacking teams" in Cabinda but said he would be happy to stay in the northern town for the quarterfinals. Ivory Coast will have to move to Luanda if it finishes second in the three-team Group B.

"We've found our marks here and I would prefer to stay," he said.

Ivory Coast won't play its quarterfinal until Jan. 24, and Halilhodzic said he will try to schedule a friendly for his players in the interval to keep them fit.

"Ten days without playing, this is not good," he said. "We have to play a match but we haven't found an opponent yet."

The Bosnian coach added that the team needed to rest after playing two difficult matches in very hot temperatures.

"This is really demanding," he said. "And this pitch doesn't help."

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