Man City awarded penalty after shocking referee decision when Raheem Sterling trips himself… and social media goes mad
And the penalty given to Manchester City when Raheem Sterling tripped himself up has sent Twitter into over-drive – with fierce arguments and comical memes aplenty.
Referee Viktor Kassai was slated for "one of the worst decisions ever in football" while City striker Sterling divided opinion for not alerting the officials to their error during City's 6-0 Champions League demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk.
The England superstar, 23, said: "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."
And responding to claims Sterling should have told the ref, boss Pep Guardiola said: "He could do that, yeah.
"But last season Liverpool and James Milner could say the same for the pass for the second goal in the 44th minute of the quarter-final. That was a legal goal."
Guardiola mainly put the blame on the lack of video technology, adding: "VAR is what it is. I said a long time ago the refs must be helped."
Football is certainly littered with examples of teams and players keeping quiet when knowingly gaining advantage from a ref's blunder, big or small, important or not.
So surely is it harsh to suddenly single out Sterling for criticism.
Or should City and their in-form atacker forget about the others and just focus on their own standards of fair play?
And after setting a new mark in British football for stylish play, should City try to match that with their etiquette?
Adam keyworth @adamkeyworth tweeted what he believes were clear blunders in other games, and asked if the players involved should have owned up.
He then said: "Or is it only cheating when it's Sterling/City?"
And he added: "This list could go on forever and could apply to most clubs.
"Can't help but wonder why this is the one that causs so much fauz outrage from the usual suspects… have a day off."
One fan responded: "Neither legend Maradona nor (Thierry) Henry did it.. That's a bitter agenda against @Mancity and Sterling. .. What a shame!"
But another argued: "It was such a bad decision with @Sterling that he should have said it wasn't a penalty.
"Or Man C should have done the decent thing and deliberately missed the penalty. In the same way that you would kick a ball out to stop play if a player was injured."
Shakhtar chief Paulo Fonseca said of the penalty verdict: "It's ridiculous. Everyone saw it. I told the referee it was ridiculous. But we didn't lose the game because of that."
And the debate seems certain to rage far longer than his hapless side survive in this season's Champions League.
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