On Wednesday night, Raheem Sterling became – to our knowledge – the first footballer to be fouled by his own toe.
Through on goal with his side 1-0 up in their Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, Sterling pulled back his left foot to shoot, but instead of sweetly connecting with the ball he jabbed the end of his boot into the turf and collapsed to the floor.
Shakhtars Mykola Matviyenko was barely in the same postcode as Sterling, but referee Viktor Kassai was convinced the defender clipped the England man and pointed to the spot.
He looked like someone who has bought a cake from Asda and then been complimented on his home baking skills. He had not lied about the cake, he had not hinted that the sponge had needed an extra three minutes in the fan oven. It was just assumed he had baked it and while he wondered about this unexpected compliment, Gabriel Jesus was busy taking the resultant penalty kick.
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Neither the linesman nor the official behind the goal had seen anything to save their colleagues blushes.
The expression on Raheem Sterlings face exposed his confusion. The Manchester City attacker had not sought to deceive the referee in Wednesday evenings Champions League tie but it seemed that he had.
Sterling, who undoubtedly was not diving and just fell over, looked sheepish. Gabriel Jesus looked directly at goal and tucked away the penalty on his way to a hat-trick in a thumping 6-0 win.
“I went to chip the ball and dont know what happened. I didnt feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref,” Sterling told BT Sport after.
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Former Manchester City midfielder Steve McManaman called it a “comical mistake” on BT Sport. And heres a few other reactions.
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Raheem Sterling has apologised to the referee and Shakhtar Donetsk for the penalty he won in Manchester Citys 6-0 win over the Ukrainian side in the Champions League on Tuesday.
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City were awarded two penalties by referee Viktor Kassai on the night, with the first coming when Sterling fell over after kicking the floor under no pressure from an opponent.
This foolishness with five officials on the pitch and none able to spot a blatant mistake has to stop. VAR is available, it worked perfectly well at the World Cup and it should be introduced without further delay. Like now, even if we are midway through a competition. The alternative is to risk being a laughing stock all over again and possibly to see a deserving team lose a tie through refereeing incompetence, as happened with Chelsea when they infamously came up against Tom Henning Øvrebø in 2009.
The officials thought Sterling had been tripped, but he told BT Sport: “I went to chip the ball and I dont know what happened next. I ended up on the floor and turned around.