Raheem Sterling apologised to the referee after winning a ludicrous penalty as Manchester City hit Shakhtar Donetsk for six on Wednesday evening.
Sterling went down after tripping over the turf with no defender near him, only for referee Viktor Kassai to award a penalty.
‘I went to chip the ball and don’t know what happened,’ Sterling said. ‘I didn’t feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref.’
Raheem Sterling apologised to the referee after winning a ludicrous penalty on Wednesday
The Manchester City winger went down after tripping over the turf with no defender near him
The ref saw different and pointed to the spot, but Sterling admitted after there was ‘no contact’
City boss Pep Guardiola claimed the 23-year-old might have owned up but claimed the fault lay with the lack of video technology rather than his player.
‘We realised immediately it wasn’t a penalty,’ Guardiola said. ‘He could do that (tell the referee), 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.
‘VAR is what it is. I said a long time ago the refs must be helped. They want to make a good performance, they don’t want to make mistakes but today the game is quick and fast and the players are more skilled.
‘They must be helped because it (only) takes 10 seconds for someone to say it is no penalty. It is what it is.’
Pep Guardiola claimed the fault lay with the lack of video technology rather than his player
Guardiola maintained he would never ask a player to simply roll an unjust penalty straight at the goalkeeper in the interest of fairness.
Shakhtar manager Paulo Fonseca added: ‘It’s difficult to speak about the penalty after a result like this but it’s ridiculous. Everyone saw it. I told the referee it was ridiculous. But we didn’t lose the game because of that.’
City are almost through to the knockout stages and could seal that spot away at Lyon in three weeks’ time. David Silva, Sterling and Riyad Mahrez all found the net, with Gabriel Jesus taking his season tally to five with a hat-trick.
‘It was a massive win,’ Sterling said. ‘The Lyon match (a 2-1 home defeat in September] was one of those a wake-up calls. You lose the ball and these good teams can punish you.’
Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick via two spot kicks as City thumped Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0
Guardiola added: ‘I am a happy man. It was an incredible performance, the way we attacked and defended. Unfortunately we’re not qualified but we are so close. We want to maintain that level.’
Guardiola praised Jesus, who ended his barren run in front of goal with two penalties before a sublime late chip.
‘It’s important – the striker lives for goals,’ Guardiola said. ‘The quality of Gabriel is it doesn’t matter what happens, he always fights and when that happens you can’t have regrets. At 2-1 he had another clear option. We need all the guys (to perform) all season because it is long.’
Kyle Walker (L), John Stones (M) and Benjamin Mendy (R) pose for a picture after the game