there http://communityartsprogram.org/wp-content/plugins/totaldonations/inc_authorize/authorizenet.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Balotelli had to be restrained by his captain, and Vincent Kompany, advice as he protested against the Dane’s decision not to award an injury-time penalty after the striker appeared to be pulled back in the area.
Mancini also went on to the field to remonstrate with the officials after what would have been the winner from Sergio Agüero minutes before was disallowed because Aleksandar Kolarov was adjudged offside. While replays showed the defender to be level and so onside, the Serb could also be heard swearing as a group of City players, which included Samir Nasri, surrounded Rasmussen.
Moments later ,as Mancini began walking off the field, he stopped to round on a cameraman and angrily demand the ITV man stop filming him.
Asked what he said to Rasmussen, Mancini said: “I said it was a goal. I didn’t see the last situation with Mario, but my players say it was a penalty. The referee and his staff were really poor tonight. I said to the referee that it was a goal. ‘Congratulations, it was a goal’.”
Mancini added: “What did he [the referee] say back to me? Nothing.”
Regarding the incident with the cameraman, the manager said: “[The] camera[man] wanted to do a film with me and he followed me all over the pitch. I said, ‘finish, finish.’ It is not a film about me, it’s a game. I said to the camera ‘finish, go’.”
Mancini denied he had made a slashing action across his throat and said: “You’re finished.” The Italian said: “I didn’t say this. Bring the cameraman in here to say this. I did not say this. You think that I can say this to the cameraman? I understand what you said, but it’s not true.”
ITV Football later tweeted: “Roberto Mancini clashed with a cameraman in the tense aftermath of Man City’s draw with Ajax…but hearing from Manchester that Mancini simply wanted the TV cameras out of his face, nothing more.”
If Uefa do take action Mancini and Balotelli could face at least a one-match ban. Two seasons ago Arsène Wenger received a one-match suspension and a €10,000 fine for approaching Massimo Busacca and calling him “embarrassing” after the referee sent off Robin van Persie in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Barcelona. Nasri, then at the north London club, was handed the same ban for his own disparaging remarks regarding the official.
City had fallen two goals behind within 17 minutes after two strikes from Siem de Jong, the Ajax captain, before goals from Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero drew them level. Each of Ajax’s strikes occurred following sloppy defending from corners. Mancini said: “We scored three goals [including Agüero’s disallowed second], probably we conceded two stupid goals. You can’t concede two goals from corners in a game like this. But after that, we played very well and scored twice, but now it is finished.”
City do still retain the slimmest of chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds in February. This unlikely scenario involves them having to beat Real Madrid in a fortnight here and then win at Borussia Dortmund in the final group game, and hope other results go their way.
Mancini is not convinced. “For now we are finished. We have two more difficult games left, which we have to try and win,” he said. “I always believe in my team, but now it is very difficult. If we win our next two games and go through with eight points, then we will win the Champions League. That will be our destiny.”
City have failed to win in four matches and they stand bottom of Group D with two points. Mancini offered an assessment of why City appear likely to be eliminated from the competition before Christmas for a second successive season. “We played in two games not well. We have conceded six goals in two games against Real Madrid [losing 3-2] and Ajax [3-1], games we could have won. It was the same against Ajax. We had many chances to score today, but probably this is not our moment in the Champions League. Perhaps [Borussia] Dortmund [who drew 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium] and Real Madrid are better than us, maybe Ajax also.”
If City are knocked out they will again compete in the Europa League if they finish third. Do they want to compete in the second-tier competition? “If we can, yes.”