Soccer: Suarez handball helps Liverpool win

Luis Suarez became embroiled in a new handball controversy today when he scored Liverpool's winner in a 2-1 victory to oust non-league club Mansfield from the third round of the FA Cup.

After Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool ahead with a goal on debut in the first half, Suarez extended the lead in the 59th minute by bringing the ball down with his hand before kicking it into the net.

Despite Suarez looking uncomfortable after scoring, appearing to expect the goal to be ruled out, it was awarded and proved to be decisive following Matt Green's later strike for Mansfield.

"I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt and say it's a reaction,'' Mansfield manager Paul Cox said.

The goal revived memories of the incident that overshadowed the Uruguay striker's 2010 World Cup campaign when he handled on the line to block Ghana from scoring during his team's quarterfinal win.

The first goal came quickly at Mansfield, with Sturridge scoring seven minutes into his first game since joining from Chelsea. The England striker raced onto Jonjo Shelvey's through ball before slotting it into the net.

Liverpool couldn't extend its lead against fifth-tier opposition until Suarez's contentious goal, and it was a nervy conclusion after Green powered in a late goal for Mansfield from Lee Beevers' cutback.

Liverpool will play at third-tier club Oldham in the fourth round.

In today's other FA Cup game, Arsenal threw away a winning position at Liberty Stadium to draw 2-2 with Premier League rival Swansea following a late goal flurry.

Former Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley had the best chance of the first half for Swansea when he headed against the crossbar, and the match only came to life after the break when the intensity increased from both teams.

It was Swansea substitute Michu who broke the deadlock after barely a minute on the pitch.

The Spaniard headed the ball past Laurent Koscielny and charged forward before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal came close to leveling when Olivier Giroud headed wide, but the goal did come in the 81st after Swansea failed to clear Theo Walcott's corner.

Bacary Sagna headed on to Laurent Koscielny, who knocked the ball through to Lukas Podolski and the Germany forward fired past goalkeeper Michel Vorm.

The visitors went in front inside two minutes after slick buildup saw Kieran Gibbs pass to Mikel Arteta, who returned the ball to the defender to blast into the net.

"Kieran Gibbs had an outstanding game,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "He gets better and better. When you see this kind of game, it's very positive.''

But Arsenal held on to its lead for less than four minutes, with Danny Graham scoring after Kemy Agustien's corner wasn't headed away successfully by Podolski.

"We should have won this game ... we lacked a little bit (of) calmness and focus,'' Wenger said. "It's frustrating to concede a goal just like that on a corner where we couldn't clear the ball before the corner.''

In the fourth round, Swansea or Arsenal will play at Brighton, the second-tier side which ousted Newcastle on Sunday.

FA Cup fourth round draw
Sunday, Jan. 27 or Monday, Jan. 28 (NZT)

Bolton-Sunderland winner vs. Cheltenham-Everton winner
Brighton vs. Swansea-Arsenal winner
Crystal Palace-Stoke winner vs. Manchester City
Derby vs. Blackburn
Huddersfield vs. Leicester
Hull-Leyton Orient winner vs. Barnsley
Leeds-Birmingham winner vs. Tottenham
Macclesfield vs. Wigan-Bournemouth winner
Middlesbrough vs. Aldershot
Millwall vs. Aston Villa
Norwich vs. Luton
Oldham vs. Mansfield-Liverpool winner
Queens Park Rangers-West Bromwich Albion winner vs. Sheffield Wednesday-MK Dons winner
Reading vs. Sheffield United
Southend-Brentford winner vs. Chelsea
West Ham-Manchester United winner vs. Fulham-Blackpool winner

- AP

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