No ifs, no butts: Manchester City's Samir Nasri appeal set to fail


Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, may escape a second letter in a week from the Football Association's disciplinary department but he seems less likely to succeed with an appeal against Samir Nasri's red card just before half-time in Saturday's exciting 4-3 win at Norwich City.

Mancini made clear his dismay that only Nasri was dismissed and not the home side's Sebastien Bassong, who had gone head to head with him and received only a yellow card. Nasri did, however, make the more obvious butting motion with his head, even though it missed the Norwich defender.

"If they decide it is a sending off for that situation then it is both players," the City manager said. "If not, then I don't think it's a red card for anyone." Mancini added that to the number of "incredible things" he had seen from referees in the busy holiday period, which has already brought a number of controversies.

Mancini already faces possible sanction for having made a joke about the referee Kevin Friend having eaten too much Christmas dinner before City's defeat against Sunderland on Boxing Day.

Harry Redknapp has been asked to explain his comment that an assistant who complained it was too murky to see clearly at Queen's Park Rangers' home game against West Bromwich Albion "should have gone to Specsavers". Redknapp complained that the officials missed a foul on the Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green when Albion scored their winning goal and that Liam Ridgewell was guilty of a blatant handling offence as QPR sought a late equaliser. But Sir Alex Ferguson has escaped any punishment for his televised rant against officials during Manchester United's win over Newcastle and City are privately bewildered that the referee made no mention of that incident when Mancini could be charged for a light-hearted remark.

The City manager's second cause for complaint on Saturday, which seemed a justified one, was that the Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn was allowed to handle a lobbed back-pass by his full-back Javier Garrido, which he pushed over the bar to prevent it dropping into the net. "Have they changed the rules?" he asked. "In the last four or five games I saw some incredible things."

The other decision for the authorities arising from an eventful game at Carrow Road is whether Edin Dzeko scored a hat-trick, or whether the third goal he is claiming is credited to the Norwich goalkeeper, Bunn having deflected it in off the post. "I know that it was my goal – and I think you do too," he said.

"I think I paid him back," Dzeko said of the manager's decision to start him and he may be rewarded by staying in the side against the physically powerful Stoke City tomorrow.

One of Japan's most exciting midfielders, Hideki Ishige, will join Manchester City for a three-day trial on Thursday. The 18-year-old, who plays for Shimizu S-Pulse, was last year voted the Asian Young Footballer of the Year. There is no indication yet that City will attempt to make a permanent move for Ishige who has been watched by several leading European clubs.

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