Aston Villa boss Dean Smith felt the decision to allow Manchester City’s opening goal to stand in his side’s 2-0 defeat was “farcical”.
City midfielder Rodri was offside when Tyrone Mings intercepted a ball forward, but ran back to challenge the Villa defender and then fed Bernardo Silva to score.
Smith was sent off for his protests about the goal, which came after his side had defended brilliantly for 79 minutes, but afterwards he was still adamant it should have been ruled out.
“It’s farcical. He was 10 yards offside and came back and tackled our player, it’s a pathetic law and a pathetic decision,” he told BT Sport.
Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: “I’ve not seen a goal like that given. It needs to be looked at. I don’t think anyone in this stadium thought it was a goal.
“I thought they would go over to the VAR screen. I saw the incident and saw it was kicking off, so I asked the fourth officials did they get juggling balls for Christmas?
“If that is the law, then definitely [it’s a problem]. You can’t just have people standing offside and taking advantage of an unfair position.”
When asked if he would have been unhappy to be on the end of a similar position, City boss Guardiola said “yes”, but added: “There is VAR here, no? So, I don’t know the rule or the situation but they analysed it.”
Smith was also angry with the decision to award a penalty for City’s second goal, scored by Ilkay Gundogan from the spot after Matty Cash handled a Gabriel Jesus header.
“A header from a yard out that has hit his arm. That’s not handball. Ridiculous,” he said.
What is the rule?
By the letter of the law, Rodri’s goal was legitimate.
In a statement, the group representing Premier League referees said: “As soon as Mings deliberately played the ball the following law applies:
“A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage, unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent.
“As the Law deems that Rodri has not gained an advantage, he has not committed an offside offence and play should be allowed to continue. Rodri legitimately took possession of the ball from Mings, starting the attack which resulted in the goal.”
Mings later tweeted: “Never even heard of that rule, just let players stand offside, then run back & tackle you? In hindsight I should’ve cleared it, 100%, but didn’t even know that was the case. Nonsense.”
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