'The whole stadium could see it was a penalty' says Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini

'The whole stadium could see it was a penalty' says Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City bemoaned a controversial late penalty decision as they dropped two points in the title race with a frustrating goalless draw against Everton.

Raheem Sterling looked to have been fouled by John Stones in injury time of a lively Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium, but referee Roger East saw it differently.

The upside for third-placed City was that leaders Arsenal were also held at Liverpool, but manager Manuel Pellegrini was in no doubt his side should have had a spot-kick.

Pellegrini said: "The whole stadium could see it was a penalty. It was so clear, so near for the referee and both legs of Raheem were taken.

"It was clear foul from Stones but if the referee doesn't whistle for it, we can't say anything about that."

East's decision cost City the chance to claim a victory they arguably deserved for their second-half dominance on a cold and wet night.

The hosts created numerous chances but found the recently-maligned Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard in superb form, while Sergio Aguero also had two penalty claims turned down.

Howard, who saved a powerful header from Yaya Toure in the first half, kept out two good efforts from Aguero as well as denying Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.

Everton's best opportunities came in the first half with Leon Osman volleying narrowly wide and Gerard Deulofeu testing Joe Hart.

Pellegrini said: "In the second half it was complete dominance by us - of possession, of shots, of saves from their goalkeeper. I think we did enough to merit winning the game."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez viewed the penalty controversy differently.

Martinez said: "The way I saw it, I see John Stones going to ground trying to block the trajectory of the ball.

"All of a sudden Raheem Sterling is quite happy not to play the ball and he wants to invite some sort of contact.

"If you are not certain, you don't want to gamble in a decision that could have been so damaging from our point of view.

"I felt Roger made the right call there."

Everton beat City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Goodison Park last week and Martinez was again pleased with the performance.

He said: "I thought in the first half we were very good. I thought we controlled the game for long spells, probably more than Manchester City.

"The second half was a little different. We found it difficult to impose ourselves but we had to show resilience and concentration and defend well."

The game had gone ahead as scheduled at 7.45pm despite severe traffic problems on the motorway network. There were many empty seats at kick-off and fans continued to trickle in throughout the first half.

Martinez said: "I think it was chaotic around Manchester today. We got here later than normal but with enough time to prepare.

"Delaying kick-off - I am always in favour of to allow fans to watch from the beginning, but it is not in our hands to make those decisions."

ends

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