Pep Guardiola sarcastically claimed that Sergio Aguero dived when asked whether he thought Ashley Young‘s challenge on the Argentine merited a penalty.
The Englishman, who was lucky to get away with a handball earlier in the game, flew into Aguero in the box with minutes remaining and Manchester United 3-2 ahead, getting a foot to the ball but also wiping out the striker in the process.
No penalty was given and Man United held on for an historic win, depriving Man City of the chance to win the title in front of their neighbours.
And Guardiola, speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s Champions League second leg with Liverpool, was in his usual sarcastic mood.
Guardiola on whether Aguero is fit after studs up challenge from Young: "He dived…."
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) April 9, 2018
Firstly, it should be noted that this was indeed a penalty. Young flies into Aguero dangerously and wipes him out; that no penalty was given surprised everyone watching.
Two penalties. No debate. First one denying Sterling a chance to tap in and second challenge on Aguero was a leg breaker.
Ashley Young ended the game with zero cards. pic.twitter.com/yuj0PCGKkm
— City Chief (@City_Chief) April 7, 2018
That said, while the aggressiveness of Young’s challenge in itself did merit a penalty, the fact that he did indeed win the ball provides perfectly reasonable grounds for the referee to wave play on. Sometimes penalty calls are not black and white.
And for all City fans, two days on, still protesting the call, perhaps they ought to remember how lucky they were that this practically identical challenge from Claudio Bravo on Wayne Rooney during the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last season went totally unpunished.
For those City fans that are livid about the Young challenge on Aguero, I cast your mind back to Bravo last season…pic.twitter.com/3UpmVSw0fi
— Adam Sweeney (@AdamWSweeney) April 8, 2018