Ster­ling apol­o­gises to ref­eree over penalty

Pretoria News - - SPORT -

MANCH­ESTER CITY winger Ra­heem Ster­ling apol­o­gised to Hun­gar­ian ref­eree Vik­tor Kas­sai af­ter win­ning a com­i­cal penalty that was clearly not a foul in Wed­nes­day’s 6-0 Cham­pi­ons League win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

With City 1-0 up in the first half, Ster­ling burst into the area and tripped over as he tried to dig his foot un­der the ball to chip Donetsk goal­keeper An­driy Py­a­tov.

There was no player chal­leng­ing him, let alone any con­tact, yet the ex­pe­ri­enced Kas­sai pointed to the spot.

“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 af­ter the game.

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 the game.”

City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola agreed that the ref­eree had got it badly wrong and said the in­ci­dent high­lighted the need for the video as­sis­tant ref­eree (VAR) sys­tem to be in­tro­duced.

“We re­alised it wasn’t a penalty. We don’t like to score in that sit­u­a­tion,” said Guardi­ola, who con­ceded Ster­ling could have told the ref­eree at the time.

“You know VAR and what it is – the ref­eree must be helped be­cause they don’t want to make mis­takes.

“The game is so quick, so fast these days. It would take 10 sec­onds for some­body to say some­thing to the ref­eree.”

Mean­while, de­fender Andy Robert­son is con­fi­dent Liver­pool can re­cover from their Cham­pi­ons League loss to Red Star Bel­grade but ad­mits the squad must re­dis­cover their “spark” to get their sea­son back on track.

Hav­ing picked up three vic­to­ries in their last nine matches in all com­pe­ti­tions, man­ager Jur­gen Klopp has said his play­ers have strug­gled to dom­i­nate sides this sea­son, an ob­ser­va­tion Robert­son echoed.

“Last sea­son ev­ery­one was used to us scor­ing four or five goals,” Robert­son told Bri­tish me­dia. “That can’t be pos­si­ble ev­ery sin­gle game. At times we’ve dug out re­sults, in the Pre­mier League more so this sea­son.

“Maybe it’s not been as good to look at, but we’ve been ef­fec­tive at it. Maybe we are miss­ing a bit of a spark in terms of not win­ning four or five­nil in most games but if he (Klopp) thinks that then we need to try to get it back.” |


RA­HEEM STER­LING ad­mit­ted to try­ing to chip the ball when he fell and was deemed to have been fouled in the box against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wed­nes­day.

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