Manchester City were left fuming at Manchester United’s controversial equaliser after letting slip a lead to lose 2-1 at Old Trafford and let their neighbours into the title race.
Arguments raged after Bruno Fernandes cancelled out Jack Grealish’s opener in the 78th minute of a dramatic derby on Saturday and rows continued into the tunnel after Marcus Rashford compounded City’s frustration by grabbing a late winner.
City players complained and urged officials to check replays of the critical moment. There were raised voices after the final whistle and after players had left the field, the PA news agency understands.
Controversy erupted after Fernandes’ goal was allowed to stand despite Rashford having been in an offside position, and appearing to race on to Casemiro’s through-ball, in the build-up.
However, the England forward did not touch the ball before making way for Fernandes to shoot and, after speaking to assistant Darren Cann, referee Stuart Atwell awarded the goal, deeming Rashford had not interfered with play.
“The first goal is a joke it can be allowed,” defender Manuel Akanji told BBC Sport. “He runs to the last second and stops when the ball is right in front of him and right in front of Eddy (Ederson) to score the goal.
“He runs for 30 metres, he’s chasing the ball. It’s clearly offside. In the situation, I played him (Rashford) offside, but he plays until the last second. I understand he doesn’t touch the ball, but for me it is clearly offside.”
Guardiola said Rashford’s run clearly impacted the reactions of both Akanji and Ederson.
“The decision is the referee’s, the VAR, (but) our defenders make a line (for Rashford),” he said. “If we know it’s Fernandes we don’t make the line, we follow the action, and after the action the interference for Eddy…
“For Eddy he is going to shoot, that’s the point, but the rule is the rule and the interpretation belongs to the referees…
“This is the decision in this stadium with the referee and the VAR. After conceding a goal we cannot concede the next one, this is the most important detail we have to improve in the future.”
For City this was a second consecutive defeat after the Carabao Cup defeat at Southampton in midweek, but Guardiola was happier with this performance.
“We lost the Carabao Cup a few days ago, but it’s not about losing the Carabao Cup, it was the way we lost the game, I was really sad,” he said.
“Today I said to the players, with this personality, they ran behind us a couple of times and just punished you on the counter attack, it’s the history of this club…We were close, not close enough, we missed a little bit up front, but in general with the performance I’m satisfied.”
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