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Van Nistelrooy goal legitimate: UEFA
June 10, 2008 16:40 IST
Netherlands' controversial first goal in Monday's 3-0 Group C victory over world champions Italy [Images] at Euro 2008 [Images] was correctly awarded despite many observers believing it was offside, organisers UEFA [Images] said on Tuesday.
UEFA general secretary David Taylor told a news conference the officials correctly interpreted the laws of the game when Ruud van Nistelrooy [Images] scored, stating Christian Panucci played him onside although the Italian was off the pitch at the time.
"The goal was correctly awarded... not many people, even in the game, and I include the players, know this interpretation (of Law 11)," Taylor said.
Van Nistelrooy scored in the 26th minute of his team's 3-0 Group C win in Berne, turning a fierce drive from Wesley Sneijder past keeper Gianluigi Buffon from close range.
The Italians protested he was offside and video replays showed him in what looked a blatant offside position. Van Nistelrooy and his team mates looked nervously around expecting the linesman's flag as they celebrated the goal.
But later there was confusion about whether Italy defender Christian Panucci had played the Dutch striker onside.
Panucci fell and went off the field of play behind the byline after clashing with other players in the preceding goalmouth scramble and was lying injured on his back when the ball went into the net.
Austrian referees' commission chairman Gerhard Kapl was quoted on an Austrian Web site as saying the goal was correctly awarded.
"The injured player behind the goal counts as a player on the field and therefore it was not offside," said Kapl.
Predictably, Dutch players said the goal was good and Italian players said it was not.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008