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Man City 2-0 Aston Villa: Dean Smith fumes at ‘pathetic’ offside decision

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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.

Dean Smith is sent off by referee Jon Moss
Smith was sent to the stands by referee Jon Moss for his complaints about the opening goal

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.

Former Premier League referee Peter Walton, speaking on BT Sport, explained why.

“My initial thoughts were as Mings played the ball, it wasn’t a deliberate play on the ball, so therefore, didn’t play the player onside,” he said.

“However, the law says: ‘A player in an offside position, receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, is not to be considered to have gained an advantage’.

“Therefore, Mings playing the ball deliberately – and we can see that he does that when he chests the ball – plays the Manchester City player onside, even though he is in an offside position. So the goal should stand.

“Rodri wasn’t gaining an advantage by being where he was, that’s the law and the fact that Mings makes a deliberate play on the ball, negates the fact that the player was in an offside position.”

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