Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill is left stunned by Gareth Bale's claims

By Daniel McDonnell

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill is baffled by Gareth Bale's attempt to claim he was wronged in Friday's bruising World Cup qualifier with Wales.

The fall-out from that encounter has overshadowed tonight's friendly with Iceland at the Aviva Stadium with Seamus Coleman's broken leg foremost in O'Neill's thoughts.

He suffered the injury after a bad challenge from Neil Taylor just seconds after Bale escaped with a yellow for a high and late tackle on John O'Shea at the other end of the park.

O'Neil believes that Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli could have handled the situation better, but was mystified when he heard that Welsh boss Chris Coleman said Bale planned to appeal his booking that rules him out of his country's big qualifier with Serbia in June.

The Real Madrid star claimed that O'Shea had kicked him which led to a collision. That surprised O'Neill, who feels there should be no debate about the seriousness of the offences com­mitted by Bale and Taylor - incidents which should add spice to the return meeting between the nations in the final game of the campaign in October.

"I can't see how they can possibly think about appealing a card when it was very close to being red and on another day the referee could have given a red," said O'Neill.

"I will reiterate that I don't think anyone can disagree that both chal­lenges were very, very poor."

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