Pep calls for VAR
MANCHESTER CITY needed no help to swat aside Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 to move to the brink of the Champions League last 16, but got a boost with a farcical penalty award that led to even manager Pep Guardiola to call for the introduction of VAR.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai remarkably pointed to the spot when Raheem Sterling tripped himself up as he bore down on goal midway through the first half with City already leading 1-0 through David Silva’s opener.
And Guardiola admitted City knew it wasn’t a penalty.
“We realised it was not a penalty,” Guardiola said.
“He wanted to make a chip and touched the grass. “We don’t like to score goals in that situation but he didn’t realise,” added the Spanish manager, who conceded Sterling could have told the referee at the time. “You know VAR and what it is – referees must be helped because they don’t want to make mistakes. “They want to make a good performance but the game is quick and players are more skilled. “It takes three or four seconds to make a decision – penalty or no penalty.” Sterling also apologised to Kassai after kicking the ground as he attempted to chip the ball goalwards. “I went to chip the ball and don’t know what happened,” said the England international. “I didn’t feel contact. I scuffed the ball, apologies to the ref.” Despite some controversial calls, the use of video referees was largely deemed successful at the World Cup and will be introduced in the Champions League next season. However, Guardiola, who was sent to the stands for protesting a goal City had wrongly ruled out in a quarterfinal elimination to Liverpool last season, called for it to be used in the competition this term. Despite the dubious penalty, City made certain of victory through Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and two more Jesus strikes. Shakhtar had a right to feel aggrieved by the penalty decision but they were otherwise outplayed for a second time in two weeks by City, and Paulo Fonseca made no excuses for his side. “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 the game.” – AFP / Agencies