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Ridiculous booking angers Essien

23 Jun 2006 - 10:10:43

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has hit out at referee Markus Merk for the booking that will prevent him playing against Brazil in the last 16 of the World Cup.

The Chelsea star picked up his second caution of the tournament for an innocuous challenge on Claudio Reyna in the early stages of the Black Stars' 2-1 victory against the USA on Thursday.

The result ensured Ghana progressed from Group E, but Essien was in no mood to celebrate after the game.

"This is one of the worst moments of my career but what can I do," the 23-year-old told PA Sport.

"I am very sad because I don't think I deserved that yellow card. I think it is ridiculous.

"The referee should have been a little more fair but that is part of the game. I have to take it now.

"At the final whistle I was happy at first but in the second moment I felt very sad. I need some rest now."

Essien found an unlikely ally in USA coach Bruce Arena, who believes the refereeing in the tournament has been far too strict.

"The insistence on yellow cards is crazy. It is taking good players out of the tournament. The mandate to show yellow cards has gone overboard," claimed Arena.

"Essien out of the next game is unfair. The tackle was actually good. I feel bad for Essien. He will miss the next match. He is a great player."


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