Mancini moans at "injustice" of "stupid" penalty
Published 23:17 25/01/12 By David McDonnell
Roberto Mancini could not hide his anger at the perceived refereeing conspiracy he claims is threatening to sabotage Manchester City's season.
Mancini, still brooding over the FA's decision to hit Mario Balotelli with a four-game ban for a violent conduct, a punishment applied retrospectively, was faced with a fresh injustice at Anfield.
Replays showed the penalty awarded to Liverpool by ref Phil Dowd to be a wrong decision, the ball having hit Micach Richards on the leg before bouncing up and striking his arm.
With Mancini now deprived of Balotelli for four crucial games in City's pursuit of the Premier League title, Mancini suggested the same retrospective methods should be applied after Wedneday night's events.
"On Monday, they decided to send Mario off, yet the referee had been there and seen everything," he said.
"If it was correct, then send him off during the game. So maybe they will change this result tomorrow.
"The referee was there, 10 metres from the incident involving Mario. If he thought it was a red card, he should have sent Mario off there and then, not after watching a video.
"The referee was there he can't see he didn't see it, Mario can do nothing he can't play for four games now.
"Here, Liverpool's first goal was not a penalty. I do feel a sense of injustice. It was a stupid penalty."
Mancini's anger stems from a perception that there is an agenda against City when it comes to refereeing decisions.
It began with skipper Vincent Kompany's four-match ban for a two-footed tackle and red card against Manchester United.
When Liverpool's Glen Johnson produced a similar tackle on Joleon Lescott in the first leg of this semi-final tie and escaped punishment, Mancini was incensed at what he saw as double standards.
That anger reached boiling point with Balotelli's retrospective ban for his stamp on Tottenham's Scott Parker and subsequent trial by TV, ref Howard Webb citing the incident having watched it again.
"In the last two months we have been very unlucky with referees," said Mancini. "It was not a penalty for Liverpool, because the ball touched Micah's leg before his hands.
"I don't know how it's possible to concede a penalty like this and not get one for the foul on Edin Dzeko.
"I haven't spoken to the referee it is impossible to speak to him. I am tired of it after so many games.
"I think Phil Dowd is one of the best referees in England. I am just giving my opinion and for me it was not a penalty."
There was one silver lining for Mancini, this being the final game of Kompany's four-match ban.
City have badly missed their imperious skipper, his replacement Stefan Savic having looked out of his depth throughout his spell deputising for Kompany.
Savic did not emerge after the break, following a torrid first-half, the £7million City paid for him looking like one of the most inflated fees they have paid, which is saying something considering their lavish spending.
Kompany's enforced absence from City's last four games has emphasised just what a pivotal figure he is for City, not just in terms of his own defensive ability, but in the calmness and assurance his presence and authority transmits to those defenders alongside him.
For Mancini and City, the return of their inspirational leader and defensive colossus cannot come soon enough.