Last night’s 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk was marred slightly by the rather dubious penalty awarded top Manchester City.
Raheem Sterling caught his foot in the turf as he was about to shoot and went to ground, only for the referee to award a spot-kick to the blues, which was tucked away by Gabriel Jesus. It was a bizarre moment and usually a decision like that is given against the blues. Commentators from all over were equally puzzled by the referee’s decision, while Twitter was alive with calls of un-gentleman conduct from both Sterling and Jesus.
There were calls that Sterling should have owned up to the ref that no contact was made, and that Jesus should have deliberately missed the penalty. But how many times does that happen throughout the course of a regular game?
How many times has a defender, who has brought down an opponent, admit to the ref that he has committed a foul when the ref fails to give a penalty? The answer is none, it never happens, but if a stone-wall penalty is given, the defender and most of his team will surround the ref and dispute the decision. And on how many occasions has a penalty-taker deliberately missed spot-kick as they disagree with the decision? I can count the number on one hand and still have five digits remaining!
So how is Sterling’s decision any different?
Is it because he plays for Manchester City and Manchester City are now, thanks to all the FFP stuff that has been flung about this week, classed a bunch of cheats? Would these questions still be asked if he played for United, Liverpool, Real, Barca or Bayern? Most likely not and we would have the excuses of ‘some are given, some are not,’ but I don’t think his integrity would come into question.
And surely it’s the referee’s job to identify when a penalty is justified, to make that call about whether to award a spot kick. It was clear the Sterling did not take a dive, and the fall was simply a trip. There was no attempt to dupe the referee, so surely the anger should be directed at an official who failed to spot a blatant, yet honest slip?
In the case of Raheem, maybe he should have said to the ref. Maybe Jesus should have missed the penalty in the name of sportsmanship, but I think they both acted correctly. Simply put, if a professional referee cannot identify between a slip and a trip, then they should not be officiating at the highest level. Responsibility should fall firmly at the feet of the referee.
Yes it was harsh on Shakhtar, but those decisions happen sometimes. I’m sure with an alleged Man Utd fan refereeing the derby on Sunday, a few decisions may go firmly against us! We shall see
So what do you think? Should Sterling have owned up or did he do the right thing and allow the penalty to happen? Let us know in our poll.
Should raheem Sterling Have Owned Up To The Penalty Decision
This poll is closed
Yes, it was un-sportsman like
No, the ref should have spotted it