JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Uruguay’s Luis Suarez said his conscience was clear after being dismissed for a handball that denied Ghana a last-gasp winner in their World Cup quarter-final on Friday.
Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty to leave the match deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time and Uruguay went on to seal a place in the last four through a penalty shootout.
“It was worth being sent off in this way for because at that moment there was no other choice,” Suarez told reporters. “I’m very calm.”
His dismissal for the goalmouth block means he will miss the semi-final against the Netherlands and break up a strike partnership with Diego Forlan that has produced six goals in the tournament so far.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez rejected assertions that his team had won by cheating.
“Yes, he stuck his hand out but is that cheating?” he asked. “I think it was instinctive. He was thrown out (of the game), he can’t play the next match. There are consequences.”
“When he handled, he didn’t know Ghana would miss the penalty. Is Suarez to blame for Ghana missing the penalty in the shoot-out?”
Forlan was named Man of the Match after an indefatigable performance up front, highlighted by his third goal of the tournament — a beautiful equaliser from a freekick 10 minutes into the second half.
He said Suarez had saved the day for the South Americans.
“We knew it was going to be difficult. The way it finished was incredible,” Forlan told a post-match news conference.
“It was a pity Suarez was sent off. Instead of scoring, he saved one, he saved the game.”
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)