Raheem Sterling Apologises After Penalty Decision; Pep Guardiola Calls for VARNovember 8, 2018
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola called for the implementation of VAR in the UEFA Champions League after Raheem Sterling controversially won a penalty by tripping himself up against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
The England international apologised following the Sky Blues' 6-0 win and explained what happened, per BT Sport (h/t ESPN FC's Jonathan Smith):
"I went to chip the ball, and I don't know what happened next. I ended up on the floor and turned around. 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 defended his player, saying "he didn't realise" what had happened, adding: "I don't like to score a goal in that situation."
But he also called on referees to be given more assistance, per Smith: "VAR, where is it? The referees said a long time ago they must be helped. They don't want to make mistakes. They must be helped. It takes two, three, 10 seconds to make a decision [with VAR]."
City were already 1-0 up through David Silva when Sterling went to ground in the penalty area in the 24th minute.
Referee Viktor Kassai's decision to point to the spot was laughable given the nearest Shakhtar defender, Mykola Matviyenko, was at least a yard away from the City winger.
Gabriel Jesus duly converted from the spot at the Etihad Stadium before Sterling made it 3-0 with a fantastic individual goal.
Two further strikes from Jesus and Riyad Mahrez's 84th-minute goal made for a record victory for City in the Champions League, as BT Sport highlighted:
The margin of victory meant Kassai's mistake made little difference in the end, but it could have been more controversial in a tighter match or at a different stage of the competition.
Despite City's comfortable win, they have yet to guarantee a spot in the last 16 after Hoffenheim earned a late draw against Lyon.
City visit Lyon next in Group F on November 27, and they will be wary of the Ligue 1 side after losing to them in their opening group-stage match in September.