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Sunday, June 27, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: June 28, 7:03 PM UK
Maradona rejects injustice talk

Diego Maradona brushed aside controversy over Argentina's opening goal in their 3-1 victory over Mexico by claiming referees are overlooking "scandalous" treatment of Lionel Messi.

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A controversial goal from Carlos Tevez - who looked to be some distance offside - swung the match towards Argentina before a horrible mistake by Ricardo Osorio allowed Gonzalo Higuain to make it 2-0.

A brilliant strike by Manchester City striker Tevez effectively ended the contest before Manchester United-bound Javi Hernandez grabbed one back in equally sensational fashion.

Maradona refused to be drawn on Mexico coach Javier Aguirre's criticism of the offside decision, saying: "He must have felt the same as we have felt when Messi gets kicked around and the referee does not act.

"It's a scandal what is happening to Messi. When you have three players just trying to kick you...the same thing happened to me 20 years ago. The Mexican coach is as hot-blooded as I am but there is a limit to everything. People dont even look for the ball with Messi, they look for his legs and kick him.

"We won a great match, with high tension and both teams played well. We knew very well that whenever we decided to tighten our grip we would be able to gain an advantage. We were superior for 90 minutes, held the ball well and passed well.

"The entire team were at ease in spite of the fact that we had an opponent who deserved to be there. No matter what they would have tried we'd have been able to resist it. "They said I had no idea and suddenly I'm winning four matches and people consider me someone else. Well I haven't changed and I'll be the same guy tomorrow."

Argentina now face a quarter-final against Germany in Cape Town this weekend and Maradona added: "Germany is a different team to Mexico. They are stronger but we will field the right players.

"They played an open game against England and we must take stock of our situation tomorrow and see how we have come out of this match, how the players are feeling and try to put together the right team to showcase our talents against Germany."

"Let me just enjoy this moment for a while, why am I to think about Germany? I can do that tomorrow. You can think and write whatever you want because you have carte blanche to write what I may think."

Tevez was delighted after his brace and is now turning his focus to Germany, who eliminated Argentina at the same stage at the 2006 tournament.

"Yes, they were two important goals," he said. "Luckily I opened the scoring. I'm happy. You have to enjoy this victory - it wasn't easy to beat Mexico. This was an important step. We're in the quarter finals and that's what matters - that we played well.

"The Argentine people are enjoying this World Cup and have every right to be celebrating. Now we have to relax a little ahead of going up against the Germans in the quarter-finals, four years after losing to them."




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