Russia blame German referee for Portugal stalemate

September 8, 2005
By Gennady Fyodorov
MOSCOW, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Russia blamed German referee Markus Merk for a harsh dismissal of Alexei Smertin in the first half of their World Cup qualifier against Portugal, probably costing the home team the much-needed three points.

Merk had difficulty keeping the players' tempers in check in a tense Group Three encounter on Wednesday, controversially sending off Smertin in the 43rd minute after the Russia captain picked up his second yellow card for dangerous play.

Smertin ...

Read more

ESPN Conversations