Manchester City penalty against Shakhtar highlights need for VAR

Manchester City penalty against Shakhtar highlights need for VAR

Raheem Sterling penalty: Worst penalty decision ever?

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.

On goal with his Manchester City side 1-0 in their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk, the winger pulled back his left leg to shoot, but instead of connecting with the ball hit his boot on the turf and tumbled to the ground.

“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.

Despite their being no defender near the England star, referee Viktor Kassai quickly concluded he had been hacked down and awarded a penalty. Sterlings teammate Gabriel Jesus then slotted it to help City on their way to a 6-0 win.

Raheem Sterlings missed opportunity to become rare beacon of virtue

Former Manchester City midfielder Steve McManaman called it a “comical mistake” on BT Sport. And heres a few other reactions.

Sterling was awarded a spot kick during Citys match with Shakhtar Donetsk – despite falling over his own feet

Social media erupts with hilarious memes as fans mock farcical Raheem Sterling penalty

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.

Not many other professionals would have acted any differently, bearing in mind that even Robbie Fowler was told to go ahead and take the penalty at Highbury in 1997, and that the referee has no obligation to change his mind once he has pointed to the spot. Sterling did not do anything wrong, either in seeking a penalty (he did not), appealing for a penalty (he did not) or not taking the opportunity to dispute the referees decision. What City as a collective could have done had they wished is deliberately missed the penalty or simply rolled the ball to the goalkeeper from the spot, but that would not be Sterlings decision either.

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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.

Nevertheless, with memories of last seasons 3-2 defeat against Jose Mourinhos side still fresh – a result that put a planned title party on hold – Jesus knows their next opponents will not be fearful of Citys recent exploits.

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