Christine Sinclair says ref wanted U.S soccer team to win in 2012 Summer Olympics semifinal match

christine-sinclair-john-hedman-getty.jpgThe women's soccer semifinal match between Canada and the U.S. was, by all accounts, a thrilling event for both sides. But in the aftermath of their emotional loss, all-time Canadian leading scorer Christine Sinclair (above) is alleging that referee bias had the odds stacked against her team from the first kick.

"Obviously, we're disappointed and upset. We felt that the referee took it away from us, so, yes, we are disappointed," the Canadian captain tells the AFP. "We feel like we didn't lose, we feel like it was taken from us. It's a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref decided the result before the game started."

For those who missed the thrilling match, Sinclair scored only the second hat-trick ever achieved against a U.S. women's team, putting Canada ahead three times. But with the score tied in the second overtime period, Alex Morgan's header scored the deciding goal. Sinclair says the only reason things even got to the point where Morgan could win the game was because of a combination of calls that pushed the match to extra time -- particularly a time-wasting penalty against Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

"[The referee] actually giggled and said nothing. Classy," Sinclair says of the penalty for holding the ball longer than six seconds, which is rarely enforced. "In an important match it's a disappointment that the referee had such an impact on it. We feel cheated."

Canadian coach John Herdman (above) echoes Sinclair's statements, telling the AP, "It felt like it was America and the referee against [us]." Calling the referee's decisions "bizarre" he adds, "If the United States were honest, they'd know they got lucky."

The match, held at the Old Trafford in Manchester, featured 123 minutes of back-and-forth soccer in front of 15,000 screaming - mostly American - fans. Now, the Americans will advance to play Japan in the gold-medal game, a rematch of the 2011 Women's World Cup final that was won by the Japanese.

"I need to wrap my head around about what just happened," U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo says of the win. "We tend to make things interesting. There is something to be said about always finding a way to win, finding a way to come back three times."

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