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Costa Rica calls for replay

24 March 2013-AFP

Costa Rica officials have requested a replay of the snow-hit 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat to the United States, insisting the game should have been called off.

Amid farcical scenes in Denver, Costa Rica slumped to a 1-0 defeat to its CONCACAF rival in a match which saw both sides labour through a blizzard on a pitch blanketed in thick snow.

El Salvador referee Joel Aguilar briefly halted the game in the 55th minute before allowing the match to conclude.

Costa Rica Football Federation vice-president Jorge Hidalgo was quoted by La Nacion newspaper as saying a request had been made to world governing body FIFA to replay the match.

Hidalgo also said referee Aguilar should be suspended.

"We ask for a prolonged suspension for the match referee and a replay of the match because of the conditions in which we played," Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo said a formal protest had been lodged with FIFA, although he indicated he was not optimistic of the appeal being successful.

"We understand it is complicated, but we feel we must protest," he said.

Costa Rica's coach Jorge Luis Pinto meanwhile branded the decision to go ahead with the game as an 'embarrassment'.

"It's embarrassing for football and embarrassing for fair play. It's disrespectful to FIFA, the fans, the players and spectacle," Pinto was quoted as saying in the Extra newspaper.

Manager Rodolfo Villalobos said snow was at least 'five inches' deep in parts of the field.

"You couldn't see the pitch markings and that is not allowed under the FIFA regulations," Villalobos said.

Defeat left Costa Rica at the bottom of the CONCACAF final round qualifying standings while the victory elevated USA to second in the table.

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