- Special Pages
LONDON: Luis Suarez sparked a new handball storm by helping Liverpool edge non-league Mansfield Town 2-1 in the FA Cup third round yesterday, after Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City.
Suarez came off the bench to double Liverpool’s lead after Daniel Sturridge had opened the scoring on his debut, but his goal prompted an angry reaction from the fifth-tier hosts, who later replied through Matt Green.
The Uruguay international, who famously used his hand to block a goal-bound shot in a World Cup quarter-final with Ghana in 2010, appeared to stop the ball with his hand in the process of scoring, but the officials let the goal stand.
Liverpool will now face third-tier Oldham Athletic for a place in round five.
Sturridge, a £12m ($19.6m, 14.8m) signing from Chelsea, broke the deadlock in the seventh minute at Field Mill, running onto Jonjo Shelvey’s pass and beating Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriott.
Marriott denied Sturridge a second goal on two occasions in the first half, but the Stags could have drawn level in the 36th minute when Green’s rising drive forced Brad Jones into a flying save.
Mansfield put Liverpool’s goal under sustained pressure early in the second half before the visitors turned to Suarez, who doubled his side’s lead in controversial circumstances in the 59th minute.
After squeezing between a pair of challenges, the Uruguayan saw an initial shot saved by Marriott but the ball rebounded against his right hand and he stroked it into an empty net to furious protests from the nearby defenders.
Green finished on the turn from 12 yards with 11 minutes to play, but Liverpool held on to steer clear of a famous upset.
Earlier, Danny Graham poached an 87th-minute equaliser to earn Swansea a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium in a game that finished amid a rapid exchange of goals.
Arsenal fought back from behind to lead through a quick-fire pair of strikes from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs in the last 10 minutes, only for Graham to pounce at the death to take the tie to a replay.
Swansea had led through a 58th-minute effort by Michu, but Swansea appeared to be heading out until Graham found the roof of the net with three minutes to play at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. REUTERS