10-man Manchester City survived a major scare against Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the first-leg of their Champions League round-of-16 on Wednesday night, coming from 2-1 down to secure a 3-2 victory at the death.
Sergio Aguero put the visitors ahead 18 minutes into the game, but they were pegged back in the first-half by two goals from the penalty spot, which Nabil Bentaleb converted.
Manchester City’s woes were compounded 23 minutes into the second-half when Nicolas Otamendi picked up a second yellow card, leaving them with a huge task.
Luckily for Pep Guardiola, Leroy Sane got the crucial equalizer on the 85th minute, while Raheem Sterling snatched the winner on the 90th minute to hand City a huge advantage heading into the second leg.
Schalke’s first penalty was awarded after the referee consulted VAR and concluded that Otamendi handed the ball in his box.
“Had referee Carlos de Cerro Grande been able to take a second look at Nicolas Otamendi’s handball, he may not have awarded Schalke their first spot-kick. It was not a clear and obvious penalty as there is a doubt over whether Otamendi deliberately handled the ball,” Clattenburg wrote in the Sportsmail.
“He was trying to get his arm behind his back and out of the way when the ball struck him. Had he seen a replay, the referee may have stuck to his guns. VAR can still be used even if the monitor has failed — the referee can still communicate via his microphone — but both clubs should have been notified immediately that he would not be able to see a replay.
“There was not an issue with Schalke’s second penalty. It was a good spot from the referee. Fernandinho was clearly holding his opponent and while the contact began outside the area, it continued into the box. The City midfielder can have no complaints but Pep Guardiola will be aggrieved with the first one.”