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'Ghost goal' ref: Leverkusen players fooled me

ESPN staff
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Stefan Kiessling 'scored' for Bayer Leverkusen through the side netting © Getty Images
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The referee at the centre of the Bundesliga 'ghost goal' storm has blamed Bayer Leverkusen's players for fooling him into believing Stefan Kiessling had scored.

Hoffenheim believe their Bundesliga clash against Leverkusen should be replayed after Kiessling's 'goal' - a header which went through the side netting - proved the difference, with the visitors emerging 2-1 winners.

Leverkusen went 2-0 up when referee Felix Brych awarded the goal. Hoffenheim have since lodged an appeal over the match result.

"There was no indication that it was not a regular goal," Brych, a FIFA referee, said at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. "I had a bit of doubt, but the reaction of the players was clear. There was nothing to suggest otherwise."

His comments reflected Leverkusen's players celebrating the goal and Hoffenheim's defenders looking away as if it was valid.

The referee's mistake could have consequences though, like an almost identical precedent in Bayern Munich's 2-1 win over Nurnberg in 1994.

In that game, Bayern's Thomas Helmer dragged an attempt wide of the goal, but the linesman on the opposite side of the field claimed it had gone in and the referee agreed. That game was replayed, with Bayern running out 5-0 winners.

Hoffenheim coach Markis Gisdol said: "It's definitely bitter for us and something like this has already happened once, and that game was replayed so I think we're going to see this game again.

"Anything else would be a joke. You can't replay a Bayern Munich game, but not a Hoffenheim game."

Leverkusen head coach Sami Hyypia said: "I celebrated during the game because it looked like it was in, but of course now it's a bit uncomfortable. But I can't do anything about it - it's the referee who makes the decisions."

Watch Kiessling's 'goal' below:

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