Raheem Sterling apologised for winning a penalty in comical circumstances in Manchester City’s 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
The first of City’s two spot-kicks – both converted by Gabriel Jesus – was awarded when Sterling fell over having stubbed his foot on the ground while trying to shoot, with nearby Shakhtar defender Mykola Matviyenko having not touched him.
“I went to chip the ball and I don’t know what happened next,” Sterling told BT Sport. “I ended up on the floor and turned around. I don’t think I felt contact, it was just my bad. “I hit the floor and scuffed the floor. Apologies to the ref (Viktor Kassai) and apologies to Shakhtar.”
In his post-match press conference, City boss Pep Guardiola admitted “we realised immediately it was not a penalty”.
Guardiola was then asked if there was any obligation at all for Sterling to indicate to the referee that he knew the way he had fallen.
In his reply he made reference to the incident in last season’s 2-1 quarter-final second-leg defeat to Liverpool when City’s Leroy Sane had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside after the ball was inadvertently played to him by Reds midfielder James Milner.
“He could do that, yeah,” he said. “But last season, Liverpool – Milner could say (about) the pass for the second goal in the 44th minute, (that) it was a legal goal. “He could do that, but of course (referee Antonio) Mateu Lahoz didn’t want to concede that goal, so that’s why it happened. You could do that. We don’t like really to score a goal in that situation.
“VAR is what it is. The referees, I said a long time ago, must be helped. They want to make a good performance, they don’t want to make mistakes, but today the game is quick and fast and the players are more skilled.”