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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini frustrated after draw with Ajax

Updated: Wednesday, 07 Nov 2012 13:02 | Comments

Roberto Mancini had heated exchanges with referee Peter Rasmussen and a cameraman after full-time
Roberto Mancini had heated exchanges with referee Peter Rasmussen and a cameraman after full-time

Manchester City were left seething after two controversial refereeing decisions prevented a stirring comeback against Ajax ending with a dramatic and much-needed Champions League win.

City had fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2 in a dramatic Group D clash at the Etihad Stadium before having a late winner disallowed and an injury-time penalty appeal declined.

Sergio Aguero, who scored City's equaliser, thought he had struck again when he poked home after 88 minutes but Aleksandar Kolarov was ruled to have strayed marginally offside before crossing.

Mario Balotelli then had a strong claim for a penalty, after having his shirt pulled, ignored as referee Peter Rasmussen blew the final whistle.

With the result leaving City bottom of the group and all but out of contention for a place in the knockout phase, tensions boiled over before the players left the pitch.

City boss Roberto Mancini walked onto the field to confront Rasmussen while Balotelli was pushed away from the official by captain Vincent Kompany after a prolonged protest.

"The referee and his staff were really poor" - Roberto Mancini

Recalling what he said to the referee, Mancini said: "I said it was a goal.

"I didn't see the last situation with Mario that was a penalty. I said it was a goal.

"The referee and his staff were really poor."

City, with just two points, now need to win their remaining two matches against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and hope other results go in their favour to reach the last 16.

Mancini conceded their chances were limited.

The Italian said: "Unfortunately we took only one point and now I think it is finished for the Champions League."

Despite that, Mancini knows it is still mathematically possible.

He said: "If our destiny is we win the next two games and go to the second stage, it is our destiny that we win the Champions League."

City's hopes of securing the victory they needed were badly damaged as they conceded twice to Siem de Jong from corners inside the opening 17 minutes.

Yaya Toure replied with a superb volley after 25 minutes but despite Aguero's leveller 16 minutes from time and plenty of attacking intent, City could not force themselves in front.

Aguero, who twice slipped when well placed on the wet surface, was also denied by an offside flag early in the second half while Balotelli forced Kenneth Vermeer to save with a firm header.

Ajax also had their moments with Joe Hart twice denying De Jong a hat-trick with good saves from long-range drives.

Mancini said: "I think that we scored three goals but we conceded two stupid goals.

"In a game as important as this you can't concede two goals from corners."

In his post-match press conference, Mancini was also asked to clarify what he said to a cameraman who followed him onto the field.

He said: "The camera wanted to film me after the game. I said, 'Finish, finish. Do not film me'."

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