Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has escaped any sanction or punishment from UEFA after excessive protests against referee Peter Rasmussen's decisions in the Champions League group stage game against Ajax. The Group D match, at the Etihad, finished 2-2, to leave the Premier League champions with no hope of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
"Nothing was reported neither by the delegate nor by the referee. No disciplinary proceedings are opened," a UEFA spokesperson told the Guardian.
Frank de Boer's Dutch champions won the reverse fixture, two weeks ago, 3-1, and threatened to do the same on Tuesday night. Club captain Siem de Jong scored twice in the opening 20 minutes to shock the English club. City responded with goals from Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure and Argentine striker Sergio Aguero. The latter's strike came in the 74th minute and it was subsequent events that led to Mancini losing his cool with the officials.
Aguero had a goal disallowed for offside in the 88th minute and then Italian striker Mario Balotelli had what seemed to be a legitimate penalty claim in injury time turned down. A furious Mancini stormed onto the pitch after full-time to confront the Danish official.
"I said to the referee it was a goal. The referee and his staff were really poor. It was incredible that they did not give that goal. I didn't see the situation with the foul on Mario but my players say it was a penalty," the Italian was quoted as saying in The Sun.
The referee wasn't the only person Mancini had an argument with that evening. Reports also indicate the former Inter Milan and Lazio manager had words with a cameraman.
"The cameraman wanted to film me and he followed me all over the pitch. I said to him 'finish, finish' because it's not about me, it's about the game. I said to the cameraman, 'finish, go'," The Sun report quotes him as saying.
The Guardian's report adds that in addition to Mancini, several City players, including Serbian left back Aleksandr Kolarov (who was, admittedly, wrongly ruled offside in the build-up to Aguero's 88th minute disallowed goal), Aguero himself and Kolarov's compatriot Matija Nastasic, were all crowding the match officials.
Incidentally, Mancini's escaping of any punishment is likely to raise the memory of a ban handed to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for a similar offence. The Frenchman was given a one-match ban and a €10,000 fine for criticising Swiss referee Massimo Busacca in a 3-1 defeat at Barcelona.
Meanwhile, as far as City's Champions League campaign is concerned, a distraught Mancini has admitted there is little, if any, hope the English champions will progress to the knock-out stages. The 2-2 draw at Manchester, coupled with the same score-line in the game between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in Spain, means City are bottom of Group D with only two points from four games. The Bundesliga champions lead with eight. Nine time champions Madrid are only a point behind on seven and Ajax look set to claim at least a place in the UEFA Europa League. City next host Madrid on 21 November and conclude the group stages with a visit to Germany to play Dortmund on 4 December.
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