Managers Pep Guardiola and Sean Dyche experienced differing emotions at Goodison Park on Wednesday – but both left the ground questioning the laws of football.
Manchester City defender John Stones limped off with an ankle injury sustained after the assistant referee had kept his flag down as Beto ran through on goal despite being offside.
And then, in the second half, Everton felt harshly done by after seeing a penalty awarded against them for Amadou Onana’s handball from Nathan Ake’s shot.
It allowed Julian Alvarez to convert from the spot, with goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva either side giving the visitors a 3-1 victory.
“The penalty, I have no clue,” said Dyche. “I don’t think anyone does. We had a Zoom call a couple of months ago, all of the managers said it is a farce and we don’t know why they are giving penalties.
“The rules state this, which is why they gave it tonight. The linesman was 50 yards away and gives it, I don’t know what that is all about. They have the letters of the law and that is not the referee’s fault. Is that deliberate? Of course not.”
Referee John Brooks initially awarded a corner after Ake’s shot hit Onana from close range but was advised by the assistant to give a penalty.
Ex-Toffees boss Roberto Martinez said on Amazon: “For me, it is not a penalty at all. For me, football people know that it is not a penalty.”
However, former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg said on Amazon Prime: “No one is saying that the decision is wrong [for Onana’s handball] but we are saying that, by the way the law is written, it is wrong and therefore that is something that needs changing.”
Dyche added: “The only thing that worries me about the rules now is the experienced referees used the rules, now everyone says the rule is that and end of story. That is where the rule has to have flexibility.
“Tonight, how do you define anything like that? You are going into crystal ball mode. If he deliberately did that he must be some keeper because his reactions were cat-like. What a save.”
Meanwhile, City are awaiting to find out how serious Stones’ injury is after he landed awkwardly when challenging striker Beto, who was poised to take a shot.
However, even if Everton’s Portuguese forward had scored it would not have counted because he was clearly offside.
The assistant referee had delayed raising his flag because there was a chance of a goal, which is what officials have been instructed to do since the start of last season.
“This is the issue with not putting the flag up,” said former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer on Amazon Prime. “They keep on playing and one of these days someone will get injured.”
Guardiola was also frustrated about the way the incident unfolded, confirming the injury itself “doesn’t look good”.
The Manchester City boss said: “I don’t understand. It’s so clear, the offside, and now he is injured. They say ‘you’re right Pep, you’re right’… but it’s late.
“It’s not them [the officials], the rules come from the big bosses… but I don’t understand.”