Reuters - Sun, 21 Mar 09:45:00 2010
Rafael van der Vaart admitted to handling the ball in the lead up to Real Madrid's opening goal in their 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon in La Liga.
The visitors stunned the Bernabeu by taking the lead in the 54th minute, but Van der Vaart levelled two minutes later in a disputed incident.
Cristiano Ronaldo's powerful free-kick was parried by Sporting goalkeeper Juan Pablo, and the on-rushing Van der Vaart controlled the ball around his middle, before firing in the equaliser to vociferous protest from their opponents.
"There was a little bit of a hand ball, although it was more a case of ball to hand, than hand to ball," the Dutch international said, after having earlier said on television that he had controlled it with his stomach.
"It was very difficult for the referee to see if there was a hand ball, but I just want to enjoy the victory."
Sporting's Juan Pablo, who was booked for protesting, said: "It makes us look stupid. I told the referee it was hand ball because it was impossible for him to have controlled the ball without using his hands."