Mancini rants at cameraman and ref as Man City fail again
Draw with Ajax leaves Premier League champions on the verge of embarrassing European exit
AS POST-MATCH rants go it wasn't quite up there with Didier Drogba's spectacular meltdown after Chelsea lost to Barcelona in 2009, but Roberto Mancini sent his toys flying out of the pram after his Manchester City drew 2-2 with Ajax at the Etihad.
The Italian has avoided a touchline ban after he marched onto the pitch to confront referee Peter Rasmussen at the final whistle and then clashed with an ITV cameraman and apparently made a throat slashing gesture towards him.
Uefa revealed that Rasmussen had not mentioned the incident in his match report, which means Mancini will escape punishment.
The City boss was furious after his side were denied a penalty at the death when Mario Balotelli had his shirt pulled in the box. Instead of awarding the spot kick Rasmussen signalled full time, sparking a furious response from the City players, included Balotelli.
Mancini was even angrier about the fact that the officials had ruled out what looked like a legitimate winner after 88 minutes, deeming Aleksandar Kolarov offside in the build up, even though replays suggested he was not.
A wild-eyed Mancini, whose hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League are now all but dead, later gave an interview to ITV. "The referee and the linesmen were really poor," he said. He stood by his criticism in later interviews but denied he had threatened a cameraman.
Asked if he had told the cameraman he was "finished" he said: "I did not say this... The camera wanted to do a film and he followed me. I said, 'finish, finish'."
However some thought he had gone too far. "Shouting at referees? It happens. Squaring up to the members of the opposing team's coaching staff? Managers have been known to do it. But when they find themselves shouting at cameramen or ball boys or groundsmen – the ordinary folk on the periphery trying to do their jobs – a little light should go on in their head that denotes a line has been crossed," said The Independent.
But Mancini's actions were in some ways understandable. "The scale of City's frustration was hardly surprising, given that last night's result all but ends their hopes of reaching the knockout phase, the target set for Mancini by the club’s owners," noted The Times.
If they are to qualify they must now win their remaining two games and hope that other results go their way.
"Roberto Mancini's stomp across the pitch to confront the match officials at the end was hardly becoming," said Paul Hayward in The Daily Telegraph, but he was not to blame for the result. "Sooner or later, surely, the responsibility has to fall on the players."