Wayne Rooney has fervently denied he dived to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off in Manchester United's 1-1 Champions League quarter-final draw with Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.
The Bayern captain, and coach Pep Guardiola, indicated after the game that they believed Rooney had fallen theatrically after the German international's 90th-minute challenge, shown below, and that this has swayed referee Carlos Velasco Carballo's decision.
Indeed, Schweinsteiger seemed to indicate his displeasure at the former Everton man's conduct before leaving the pitch.
However, the 28-year-old Englishman has insisted he was only trying to protect himself, as reported by Chris Wheeler in the Daily Mail:
He could have hurt me. He’s gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him, so it’s not my decision. I didn’t try to get him sent off.
I don’t want to say what he (Schweinsteiger) said but I think it’s a foul. I’ve tried to stop myself getting hurt and the referee has had a decision to make.
The Daily Mirror's David McDonnell was of the opinion that the 29-year-old deserved to go despite potential exaggeration from Rooney:
Schweinsteiger deserved second yellow, even if Rooney exaggerated fall. Valencia should have gone too. Gritty display by Man Utd #MUFC— David McDonnell (@DiscoMirror) April 2, 2014
The red card means Schweinsteiger will miss the second leg at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, along with team-mate Javi Martinez, who is also suspended after picking up a yellow card.
This could be significant as it was Schweinsteiger who scored the equalising goal in Manchester after Rooney's corner had been headed in by Nemanja Vidic to put the Red Devils into an unexpected lead.
While David Moyes' side were pegged back, the performance was far better than many had expected and United are still very much in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
They travel to Newcastle this weekend in the Premier League and a good result would set them up well for their trip to Germany.
Meanwhile, Bayern—already Bundesliga champions—are away at Augsburg with Guardiola likely to rest as many of his top players as possible to keep them fresh for Wednesday's clash.