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Mourinho throws in the towel

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his side’s title hopes are “probably” over because referee Michael Oliver failed to award them a penalty in their 2-1 loss to “lucky” Manchester City.

By Sports Reporter 

Pep Guardiola’s team stretched their lead at the top of the table to 11 points and became the first team to win 14 successive English top-flight games in a single season.

City took the lead their vast superiority deserved when man-of-the-match David Silva hooked home from close range after confusion at a corner on 42 minutes, only for United to be handed a lifeline in first-half stoppage time when poor defending from Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph allowed Marcus Rashford to steal in for a composed finish.

Otamendi made amends nine minutes after the break when Romelu Lukaku – who had a poor game – lashed at a clearance in the area and the City defender pounced on the rebound to score.

Mourinho’s post-match focus centred on an incident in the 79th minute, when Ander Herrera went down in the box under a challenge from Otamendi and was booked for diving.

“My first reaction is I feel sorry for Michael Oliver because he had a very good match but unfortunately he made an important mistake,” Mourinho told BBC Match of the Day.

“The result was made with a big penalty not given. That would have been 2-2.

“Michael was unlucky because it was a clear penalty.”

Asked whether the title race was over, Mourinho replied: “Probably, yes. Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck, and the gods of football are behind them.”

Before Sunday’s game, Mourinho had suggested City’s players go down too easily – something Guardiola dismissed, along with the Portuguese’s assertion United should have had a penalty.

“Last season it was the same – we won here and it was the referee. Today as well,” Guardiola said.

“Yesterday he spoke about the referee. We are an honest team. We had 65% ball possession, which means we wanted to play. We came here and did that.

“It’s not true that my players go down easily. That is not an argument I believe.”

Sunday’s result ended United’s 40-match unbeaten run at home – which stretched back to City’s win here in September 2016.

City, who have dropped only two points in their first 16 league games, had opportunities to extend their lead but it was keeper Ederson who made the decisive late intervention with a miraculous double late save from the luckless Lukaku and substitute Juan Mata.

 

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Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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