Football

Referee's bizarre decision kills Manchester City's comeback hopes

garylim@sph.com.sg

Manchester City's Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after a 2-1 defeat by CSKA Moscow under controversial circumstances this morning (Singapore time).

CSKA's  Seydou Doumbia made the most telling contribution of the game by scoring a brace to overshadow Yaya Toure's excellent free-kick goal, but it was Greek referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos who stole the show.

The hosts ended the game with nine players after Fernandinho and Yaya Toure were sent off, but CSKA should have had a man dismissed as well.

In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, the official brandished a yellow card to the innocent Sergey Ignashevich instead of Pontus Wernbloom  - the real  offender - for a foul on Sergio Aguero in the 77th minute.

City's players were understandably incensed, as CSKA's Wernbloom was already on a yellow prior to this incident.

Trailing 2-1 and a man down at that point, they would have fancied their chances of erasing the deficit.

As luck would have it, Toure got his marching orders four minutes later to end any chance of a comeback.

Following this unexpected defeat at the Etihad Stadium, the English Premier League champions are rooted to the bottom of Group E, two points behind CSKA and Roma, while Bayern Munich are already through to the next phase.

However, City have only themselves to blame for their predicament.

CSKA were initially seen as the team Manchester City could potentially take six points from in the group but in the end, they managed just one.

It took the visitors only two minutes to break the deadlock this morning.

Doumbia, who scored a goal against Manuel Pellegrini's men in the 2-2 draw in Moscow a fortnight ago, netted a header from close range.

City equalised through Toure's brilliant free-kick six minutes later.

But Doumbia took advantage of some slack defending by Gael Clichy to hammer in the winner just after the half-hour mark.

City had chances to level the score, but they were guilty of some poor finishing.

Then came the referee's horrible error to sum up their night.

 

manchester cityCSKA MoscowChampions League