Pep calls for VAR after phantom penalty mars City romp

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling going down in the box in the first half of the Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. A penalty was awarded but he later admitted that there had been no contact from the defender Mykola Matviyenk
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling going down in the box in the first half of the Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. A penalty was awarded but he later admitted that there had been no contact from the defender Mykola Matviyenko and that he had simply scuffed the ball. Gabriel Jesus converted the penalty for the second of City's six goals.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The BBC suggested that it was "the worst penalty decision ever" as social media erupted at half-time of Manchester City's Champions League Group F 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai saw City's Raheem Sterling levitating and then going to ground, with the defender Mykola Matviyenko just behind him.

What the unsighted official and his assistants did not see was that Matviyenko did not make a tackle, let alone make any contact.

The comical truth was that Sterling tripped over himself as he tried to dig his foot under the ball to try to chip goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

"I went to chip the ball and don't know what happened. I didn't feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref," Sterling said of the first-half incident when City were one up at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Shakhtar's Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca laughed when he was asked about the decision.

"It is difficult to speak about a penalty after a result like that. But it's ridiculous, that's all I can say," he said. "Everyone saw it, but it is not because of the penalty we lost."

City manager Pep Guardiola said the incident highlighted the need for the video assistant referee (VAR) system to be introduced.

"We don't like to score in that situation," said the Spaniard, who conceded that Sterling could have told the referee at the time.

"The referee must be helped because they don't want to make mistakes. The game is so quick, so fast these days.

"VAR doesn't exist in Uefa so that is the problem."

Even without that fluke penalty goal by Gabriel Jesus, City are simply destroying opponents - with 19 goals in their past four home games in all competitions. The English champions had striker Sergio Aguero on the bench and playmaker Kevin de Bruyne injured.

Following David Silva's opener and Jesus' goal, Sterling also scored and Riyad Mahrez added to the scoresheet. Jesus netted two more to complete his hat-trick.

The result left City within a whisker of the last 16 as they lead Group F with nine points, three ahead of second-placed Lyon who drew 2-2 with Hoffenheim.

The Germans are third on three points while Shakhtar are bottom on two, and City will book their place in the next round with a draw in Lyon on Nov 27.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'Pep calls for VAR after phantom penalty mars City romp'. Print Edition | Subscribe