Raheem Sterling has been in scintillating form for both club and country for most, if not the whole of the season. In fact, I will go as far as to say the 23-year-old attacking midfielder is playing the best football of his life and yet he makes one HONEST mistake during last night’s Champions League 6-0 thumping of Shakhtar Donetsk and the press, as predicted, jump on his back for being a cheat.
Twenty four minutes into the game and while he’s being shadowed by defender Mykola Matviyenko Raheem enter the Shakhtar’s penalty area at a million miles an hour and as he is about to pull the trigger the England international accidentally kicks a lump out of the Etihad turf. Gravity and momentum kick in, and he slumps to the deck. At first glance, it looks as if he’s been tackled from behind hence the reason why match referee Viktor Kassai blows for a penalty.
Pep “We realised Raheem Sterling’s incident wasn't a penalty. Raheem could have told the referee he wasn’t fouled. We don't like to score in that situation. You know VAR and what it is — the referee must be helped because they don't want to make mistakes” pic.twitter.com/hFnpDGEobZ
— The Pep (@GuardiolaTweets) November 7, 2018
Replays show Sterling had stubbed his foot and video evidence confirms not one Manchester City player, including Raheem appealed for a foul – there wasn’t one, and yet Mr. Magoo (additional official) who had a clear and unobstructed line of sight, and stood a few feet away from the incident assists the ref by pointing his handheld instrument towards the penalty spot.
'In that situation I would have told the referee the truth'
????️ Danny Murphy explains why @Sterling7 should have told the ref what had really happened when he went down in the box last night.
Should Raheem Sterling have been honest and told the referee it wasn't a penalty? ???? pic.twitter.com/f3BY8LtWho
— The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast (@SportsBreakfast) November 8, 2018
City scored when Gabriel placed the ball into the corner but the event itself in which Raheem later apologised stoked up a raft of abuse and insults from trolls who claim the man cheated.
Sterling told BT Sport: “I went to chip the ball and don’t know what happened. I didn’t feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref.”
Raheem Sterling apologises to the referee and to Shakhtar for last night's penalty incident
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 8, 2018
Pep Guardiola: “We realised it wasn’t a penalty. We don’t like to score in that situation.”
???? "The referees want a good performance, they don't want to make mistakes"
???? While admitting it was the wrong call, #ManCity manager Pep Guardiola defended referee Viktor Kassai after he gave a penalty for Raheem Sterling's accidental fall in the box ????#ManCity 6-0 Shakhtar pic.twitter.com/evFNt8xj73
— BBC RM Sport (@BBCRMsport) November 7, 2018
Raheem Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong
Raheem could have held his hands up and told the official about his blunder but would / could he have changed the referees mind? No, of course not.
Media meltdown + Twitter twaddle
"They offer nothing to the game"
After Raheem Sterling won Manchester City a controversial penalty against Shakhtar Donetsk, Craig Bellamy thinks UEFA should get rid of the extra official who stands behind the goal. #TheDebate pic.twitter.com/pCmKtLZQdM
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 7, 2018
If you missed the Raheem Sterling penalty incident, it went something like…pic.twitter.com/3uwG2ky7hO
— Football Mumble (@football_mumble) November 7, 2018
Why should Raheem Sterling get blamed, it’s not his fault that the referee is inept. Should Ashley Young have gone over and told the referee it should have been a penalty after he fouled Aguero in the Derby last season? Obviously not. This is no different.
— Sibs ???? (@SibsMUFC) November 7, 2018
#RaheemSterling missed a chance to gain some respect with footie fans by not admitting to the ref that he had tripped & it wasn't a penalty. But no…ONCE A CHEAT, ALWAYS A CHEAT #robbiefowler @ManCity https://t.co/9pK24WHzgx
— james vance (@jrvanceauthor) November 8, 2018
The biggest joke of the week has got to be Raheem Sterling and City's undeserved penalty against Shakhtar. Hilarious.
— Alex (@LeKahuna_) November 8, 2018
Yes the Raheem Sterling penalty was a shocking farce of a decision and not a dive. Sterling even apologised. But they still tucked it in the net… ????????♂️ #crocodiletears
— Graham Wilson (@GrahamIWilson) November 8, 2018
Watching that raheem sterling penalty gives me hope that there can still be a career for me in football
— Colin Lawson (@clawson0705) November 8, 2018
If raheem sterling was a decent person, he would have waved it off and if the penalty was given still just pass it to the keeper
— Tom (@TomBLock91) November 8, 2018
It must it be time for the Sterling haters to bugger off and leave him to get on with his career – surely?