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Austria hand U.S. controversial 1-0 defeat

(Reuters) - Austria handed World Cup qualifiers the United States a controversial 1-0 friendly defeat in Vienna on Tuesday after the visitors had a goal disallowed because the referee ruled the ball had not crossed the line.

The U.S., who had won 15 or their previous 16 internationals, thought they had gone ahead in the 16th minute.

Geoff Cameron's header hit the hand of Austria forward Marko Arnautovic and was heading into the goal until it was clawed away by goalkeeper Robert Almer.

The American players raised their arms, clearly thinking they had scored, but the referee waved play on, awarding neither a goal nor the penalty.

Television replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball had crossed the line although the handball by Arnautovic appeared to be clear.

Austria, who have not qualified for the World Cup, then went ahead when David Alaba released Gyorgy Garics on the right and his low cross was turned in from close range by unmarked Turkey-based forward Marc Janko in the 33rd minute.

The hosts had a chance to increase their lead early in the second half when Martin Harnik sprung the offside trap, only to curl his shot wide of the post and there were few chances for either side after that.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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