The football world has been divided by the decision to award Manchester City a penalty on Wednesday night.
Although Pep Guardiola’s side were far too good for Shakhtar Donestk in the Champions League, football figures have been polarised by the decision to award a farcical penalty to Raheem Sterling during the European rout.
The England international was awarded a penalty after he kicked the turf while under pressure from Shakhtar defender Mykola Matviyenko. Although there was no contact from the player, the referee immediately pointed to the spot to give the set-piece.
Sterling did not appeal for the penalty to be overturned, while Guardiola appeared to tell the fourth official that it was the wrong decision.
However, the football world has been divided by the incident – and here is a round-up of the reaction to the penalty decision.
What the clubs said
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Sterling responded to the penalty decision.
“I went to chip the ball and I don’t know what happened next. I ended up on the floor and turned around,” Sterling said.
“I don’t think I felt contact, it was just my bad. I hit the floor and scuffed the floor. Apologies to the ref and apologies to Shakhtar.”
Guardiola reacted to the penalty immediately by reacting to the fourth official by insisting the decision was wrong. The City manager also took the opportunity to have his say:
“It’s not. VAR doesn’t exist in Uefa, so that’s the problem. He went to make a chip, fell down but the referee can make a mistake. But the referee must be helped, for the technology.
“It’s not nice to score the second goal and to win in that way. Last season it happened to us against Liverpool, so the referees must be helped.”
Shakhtar manager Fonesca played down the incident and insisted the decision did not make a telling difference on the outcome of the match.
There is no sense in saying anything about that penalty after such a result,” Fonseca told Futbol 2.
“We lost because City are a team at another level, much, much better than us.
“We were far from even trying to do anything [to win]. My team didn’t show themselves well. They didn’t show courage and that has disappointed me most of all.
“You may concede six goals, but it’s even worse if you fear your opponents.
“Our biggest problem was fear, lack of courage. That’s why we didn’t try to build our game like we want to do.
“We still have chances to qualify. We need to win our two remaining games and hope for appropriate results in other games. And we have to try and do it. But it will be very difficult to achieve.”
A view from a referee
Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg stated the referee got the decision and revealed the penalty might have stood even if Sterling had protested.
“It would have been an incredible act of sportsmanship had Raheem Sterling told referee Viktor Kassai that he was wrong to give Manchester City a penalty,” Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail..
“Even then, it may not have been enough to convince the Hungarian official to change his mind. Referees can overrule their own decisions up until the moment that play restarts.
“Had Sterling been adamant that it was not a penalty, Kassai could have bought himself time and consulted with his assistants.
“But if the referee was still certain he had made the right call, he could stick with his original decision.”
What the pundits think
Sarcasm is an art
Blatant penalty ♂️ ♂️ pic.twitter.com/STKxEjnHMx
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 7, 2018
“I think the City players should have just said: ‘Listen, it’s not a penalty’,” he said.
“Worst refereeing decision,” he said.
“That reaction (from Sterling) is brilliant.
“How many refs do they need to get that right?”
Sterling should be ashamed what a cheat
— Andybee (@andybee36) November 8, 2018
Apparently it’s a dive
I can do a better dive than #Sterling with my my shoe unlaced!
— Red (@ware_lad) November 8, 2018
Not his problem
Raheem Sterling could have told the ref he tripped himself right? Or they could have missed the penalty on purpose. #ManCityShakhtar
— Willy W AFC (@willywanka) November 8, 2018
Raheem Sterling doesn’t deserve all the media grief in general, but he really didn’t help himself last night at all – shows a fundamental lack of integrity.
— Sam Marshall (@samueljoshua90) November 8, 2018
Looking at that incident, I don't think Sterling took a dive, but he had the perfect opportunity to do the sporting thing. Yes, it was a ridiculous decision, but more needs to be made of players' lack of honesty in these situations.
— Tom Hancock (@Tom_Hancock_) November 8, 2018
Even United fans divided him
Why should Raheem Sterling get blamed, it’s not his fault that the referee is inept. Should Ashley Young have gone over and told the referee it should have been a penalty after he fouled Aguero in the Derby last season? Obviously not. This is no different.
— Sibs (@SibsMUFC) November 7, 2018
Should Willy Boly have told the ref he punched it into the net back in August?
Or is it only cheating when it's Sterling/City? pic.twitter.com/ZKLuWUs8dW
— Adam Keyworth (@adamkeyworth) November 8, 2018
I can’t wait til a ref makes another horrible decision elsewhere so everyone abuses the defender/attacker that the referee makes a mistake in favor of….oh wait that won’t happen because no other player is called Raheem Sterling
— Aidan (@MCFC_Aidan) November 8, 2018
Not his problem
Blame the useless goalside official, the referee, and the linesman. THREE officials couldn't see that between them, its not Sterling's job to referee the game.
— Jordan Buckett (@jordansbuckett) November 8, 2018