Staunton slams referee
Steve Staunton has slammed referee Kyros Vassaras for sending-off Stephen Hunt in Ireland's defeat to the Czech Republic.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 12/09/07 11:14pm
Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton has slammed referee Kyros Vassaras for the sending-off of Stephen Hunt in his side's Euro 2008 qualifying defeat to the Czech Republic
Ireland crashed to a 1-0 defeat to the Czechs and they now trail the second placed side by six points in Group D and face a tough task to qualify for next summer's finals.
Staunton's men, who were already chasing the game courtesy of Marek Jankulovski's 15th minute strike, were forced to play the final 30 minutes in Prague without Hunt after he received a straight red card.
The Reading man had impressed following his 38th minute introduction from the substitute's bench, however Greek official Vassaras gave him his marching orders on 60 minutes for lunging in on defender Czech defender Jan Polak.
Staunton has revealed his annoyance at the decision and believes the referee may have been influenced by Czech players.
"I thought it was very harsh," said Staunton
"Stephen has won the ball and his momentum took him through. The player acted injured but was up running around when Hunty had got off the pitch.
"There was a lot of play-acting and I wasn't happy with their centre-half Radoslav Kovac.
"The referee looked like he was only going to give Hunt a yellow card until Kovac said something to him.
"There were a lot of decisions but what can we do about it, it's history. But I'm sure the referee's assessor will have his own report. We'll just have to wait and see what is the outcome.
"We're bitterly disappointed. I think we had enough chances to get something out of the game even with 10 men. We started badly but came into it and by the time of the sending-off we were well on top."