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Najar sent off as D.C. and New York locked in playoffs

(Reuters) - D.C. United missed a golden opportunity to gain an early advantage in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semi-finals, drawing 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls, in a match that was highlighted by two own goals and United's Andy Najar being sent off for throwing the ball at referee Jair Marrufo.

Najar had initially been booked for a foul on Joel Lindpere, then threw the ball in the direction of Maruffo, who issued a second yellow card that will rule the Honduran international out of the second leg on Wednesday.

D.C. United, playing at home, took the lead when Red Bull substitute Roy Miller turned a 61st minute cross from Chris Korb into his own net.

The home side's advantage, however, lasted just four minutes as Heath Pearce innocuously headed a New York corner towards D.C. keeper Bill Hamid, but Hamid stumbled and bumbled the ball over the line for another own goal.

Hamid remonstrated with referee Marrufo claiming he was bumped by New York defender Markus Holgersson but his pleas were ignored.

Najar then lost his cool in the 71st minute and was given his marching orders, though the visitors were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage for the final 19 minutes.

(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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