Fury and recriminations as Euro flop Roberto Mancini loses plot

Italian faces ban for confronting referee after late disallowed goal denies City desperately-needed win

The Etihad Stadium

Roberto Mancini risks seeing the remains of Manchester City's Champions League campaign from the stands after a furious confrontation with the referee in the wake of last night's frantic 2-2 draw with Ajax.

Uefa are likely to punish Mancini with a touchline ban after he strode across the pitch to criticise the referee, Peter Rasmussen, who had disallowed what would have been Sergio Aguero's winner three minutes from time.

Mario Balotelli, who had been thrown on as a second-half substitute, also had to be led away from the officials complaining he had been dragged down by the Ajax defender, Ricardo van Rhijn, just before the end. As he walked back to his technical area, Mancini then rounded on an ITV cameraman for trying to film him in close up.

When asked about his conversation with Rasmussen, the Manchester City manager said: "I told him: 'Congratulations, it was a goal'." Mancini said he had not seen the incident in which Balotelli was pulled down but, when asked to relay his spat with the cameraman, he said: "He wanted to do a film with me and followed me round the pitch. I told him it [the game] is finished and it is not a film about me. I told him it was finished. I told him to go."

Mancini is likely to face at least the one-match ban endured by Arsène Wenger after the Arsenal manager called the referee Massimo Busacca "embarrassing" for sending off Robin van Persie against Barcelona in March last year. Mancini's actions are unlikely to play well in Abu Dhabi, although none of the club's Arab owners were at the Etihad last night because of Sunday's Formula One grand prix in the principality.

Mancini argued vehemently that the Danish officials were wrong to rule that Aleksandar Kolarov was offside when he crossed for Aguero for a goal that would have capped a remarkable comeback.

"It was a goal and the referee and his staff were really poor," he said. "We scored three goals probably but we conceded some stupid ones. You cannot concede goals like that and think that you have played well. We played a fantastic second half but it doesn't matter now. It is finished."

However, Mancini might have been better off complaining about Van Rhijn's foul on Balotelli just before Rasmussen blew for full time. The Ajax coach, Frank de Boer, confessed that, having seen it again, it might have been a penalty. "Sometimes you are lucky with referees and sometimes you are not," he said.

Manchester City are not quite finished in the Champions League, although only two sides in the history of the competition, Lokomotiv Moscow in 2002 and Porto two years later, have qualified from the position they now find themselves in.

Get Adobe Flash player

City have to win their last two fixtures, at home to Real Madrid and in Dortmund's 80,000-capacity Westfalenstadion, and trust that other results go improbably their way.

Mancini seemed doubtful that the Premier League champions any longer had it in them to achieve this, shrugging his shoulders when it was put to him that the campaign was still alive. The home and away games with Ajax were supposed to be the simplest fixtures of a hugely difficult group and City have taken a single point from them.

All the defensive frailties that have dogged them throughout a Champions League campaign that has been even worse than last season's were in evidence last night as Siem de Jong put Ajax two up after 17 minutes, taking the number of goals City have conceded in this group to nine.

"Maybe it is not our moment in the Champions League," Mancini said. "But, if we finish and qualify with eight points, we can win the Champions League because that will be our destiny. I always believe in my teams, although sometimes they make mistakes."

De Boer was disappointed for his players, who could have moved closer to at least ensuring they stayed in European competition via the Europa League with a victory. "It's a good sign that the players are disappointed in the dressing room after the game because they had the feeling we could make a big step forward to the next phase, in the Europa League or the Champions League," he said.

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor