Football

Bruce shrugs off Rafa clash

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce described his touchline clash with Rafael Benitez as "handbags" after Darren Bent's controversial goal delivered a fresh blow to Liverpool's title hopes.

Bruce, who saw Kenwyne Jones and Lee Cattermole both carried off injured, became embroiled in a furious touchline debate with Benitez when the Spaniard apparently complained about the length of time for which Jones was treated on the pitch.

"It was handbags. It's all over, it's done. You do things in the heat of the moment which, when you look back at it, you think, `Maybe I shouldn't have done that', but there you go," said Bruce.

The Black Cats won courtesy of Bent's eighth goal of the season, which flew past Reds goalkeeper Jose Reina after hitting a beach ball which had been thrown on to the pitch from the Liverpool fans.

Bruce later revealed he had been told the goal should have been disallowed and a drop ball awarded, but he was not allowing that to spoil his night.

He said: "Listen, I thought it was a deflection off a player. I have to say when I have just seen it there, if anybody knew that rule - that it is supposed to be a drop ball - then you are a saddo.

"They have got it on telly with the guy who threw it on and it's got Liverpool crests all over it. What a shame."

Opposite number Rafael Benitez was philosophical when asked about the incident.

"It's a very technical question. It could be a goal, it's difficult to say. In this case, it has to be a goal," said Benitez.

"These things can happen in a lot of games. It was a bad situation for us - it was in the middle [of the goal] and it was very influential. But we didn't play well, that is the main thing for me."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Jose Reina
Lee Cattermole
Kenwyne Jones
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Darren Bent
Liverpool

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