Akanji hits out at referee over Man United equaliser


Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji described the decision to not disallow Manchester United’s first goal in Saturday’s derby as a joke.

Jack Grealish had seemingly set City en route to three points with his second-half opener, but Bruno Fernandes levelled in contentious fashion before Marcus Rashford clinched a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

City were furious with United’s leveller because Rashford, who was offside, approached the ball but allowed Fernandes to take the shot.

The flag was initially raised to signal offside against Rashford, but referee Stuart Attwell overturned the decision having spoken to his assistant Darren Cann.

The fact Rashford opted against touching the ball and that he technically did not impede Akanji meant the England forward was not deemed to be interfering with play, therefore the goal counted.

Attwell’s decision caused a stir on social media, with former professionals among those questioning the outcome, and Akanji is adamant it was the incorrect call.

“For me, the first goal is a joke that it’s going to be allowed like this,” he told the BBC.

“In that situation, I see Rashford is clearly offside, so I play him offside. He runs really to the last second and he stops when the ball is in front of him.

“He’s right in front of Edi [Ederson] to score the goal and then he stops because Bruno is calling him from behind that he [Fernandes] is not in an offside position.

“I understand that he doesn’t touch the ball, but he runs for like 30 metres, he’s chasing the ball and then he stops. For me, it’s clearly offside.”

Defeat for City leaves them just a point above United and gives Arsenal the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points if they beat Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.