Luis Suarez hands Liverpool a place in the FA Cup 4th round
Suarez is not the only one to give his side a helping hand in years gone by
Luis Suarez’s controversial goal against Mansfield during Sunday's FA Cup third round tie proved decisive, as Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners. Television replays clearly showed that the Liverpool striker used his hand to control the ball before slotting it into an empty net.
Opinion has been divided on whether or not Suarez should have confessed to the handball. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has defended the Uruguayan, who is seemingly never far from controversy.
The incident has rather predictably dominated the football headlines this week and logically, it has conjured up memories of some of the most notorious handball incidents in football. It would be impossible to detail every handball in the history of the game, but here are three examples of the some 'handy-work' that will never be forgotten.
2001 - Raul Vs Leeds United
Back in 2001 Leeds United, who are now plying their trade in the second tier of English football, met the mighty Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. The two sides met in the now abolished second group stage. It was a group D game and Leeds went to the Santiago Bernabeu having already qualified for the next round. Nonetheless, the goal that won Madrid the game left the Leeds players, and fans, unmistakably furious.
The game was rife with poor decisions. Leeds striker Alan Smith, for example, put his side 1-0 up with a goal that was clearly offside. However, just a couple of minutes later Smith's controversial goal was overshadowed by Raul’s equaliser.
After Madrid won a free-kick, Luis Figo sent a high ball into the Leeds box and Raul threw his arm (not literally) at the ball, sending it into the Leeds goal. Madrid went on to win the game 3-2. Raul was later fined £8,000 by UEFA and banned for one game but that was a very small consolation for disgruntled Leeds supporters.
2009 - Thierry Henry Vs Republic of Ireland
Ireland were leading France 1-0 in the 90th minute of the second and decisive leg of the World Cup play-off in 2009. With the aggregate score sitting at one-a-piece, the tie would have entered extra-time and possibly gone on to be settled by a penalty shoot-out where, as everyone knows, anyone can win.
Alas, it was not to be. After a series of passes in the Irish box, Henry handled the ball to keep it in play before passing the ball to William Gallas who scored from close-range to smash the dreams of thousands of Ireland fans who made the short trip to Paris. The Irish worldwide, myself included, were stunned, irate and most of all, broken-hearted.
1986 - Diego Maradona Vs England
Undoubtedly the most famous handball in the history of football - Diego Maradona’s first-half goal helped knock England out of the World Cup in 1986.
As England goalkeeper Peter Shilton came off the goal-line to punch away the ball, the much shorter Maradona rose in the air and used his left hand to put the ball into the net. The goal, which later became known as ‘The Hand of God’ is a part of footballing folklore and to this day still hurts many an Englishman.
Of course, the game is also famous for Maradona’s second goal - an outstanding bit of individual genius that, in 2002, was named ‘Goal of the Century’ by voters on FIFA's website.
So, Suarez is not the first and certainly will not be the last to use his hand to effect the play, whether intentional or not. However, it is not down to the player to confess to his 'mistake', after all it is the responsibility of the referee to spot such an infringement and take the appropriate action.
That said, it won't make the Mansfield fans feel any better after being on the receiving end of such a controversial goal. The only comfort they can take is that they're not along - just ask the Republic of Ireland fans.