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Nov 6, 2012

Mancini rages at referee

Ajax manager unhappy that his side only managed a 2-2 draw, despite being 2-0 up.

Roberto Mancini raged at referee Peter Rasmussen after Manchester City had a goal ruled out for offside and were denied a late penalty as their Champions League dream all but died with a 2-2 home draw against Ajax.

• Jolly: City cornered
• Tyler: Group of Death tightens hold
• Curtis: City lights go out

Sergio Aguero had a goal chalked off when the creator Aleksandr Kolarov was ruled offside when he seemed to be level from Edin Dzeko's pass, and Mario Balotelli appeared to have his shirt tugged by Ricardo Van Rhijn late on.

City started the game terribly. Siem de Jong was left unchecked at two first-half corners, the Ajax captain able to head home a brace, forcing Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero to dig deep and score the goals needed to keep City within five points of the qualification spots in Group D.

Ominously, City now need to beat both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, who also drew 2-2 on Tuesday. Mancini, though, pulled no punches when discussing the performance of the officials.

Asked what he said to the official, Mancini said: "I said it was a goal. I didn't see the last situation with Mario that was a penalty. I said it was a goal. The referee and his staff were really poor tonight.''

In his post-match press conference, Mancini was also asked to clarify what he said to a cameraman who followed him onto the field. The Italian said the word, 'finish' but said this was his way of asking him to stop filming and did not mean anything else.

Mancini said: "The camera wanted to film me after the game. He followed me on the pitch. I said, 'Finish, finish. Do not film me'. I told the camera to finish, go.''

There appeared to be some confusion over this during the press conference and Mancini was annoyed this might be interpreted differently. He said: "You know other words that I said? You were on the pitch with me?

"I think that we scored three goals. We conceded two stupid goals. In a game as important as tonight you can't concede two goals from corners. After that moment we played well. We scored the first goal and were fantastic in the second half. But now, we can do nothing, it is finished.''

Mancini conceded his side's chances were probably over but claimed their name must be on the trophy if they do happen to get through now. He said: "If we finish with eight points and we win, we can win the Champions League, probably. If our destiny is this we win the next two games and go to the second stage, it is our destiny that we win the Champions League.''

Vincent Kompany admitted that Ajax's two early goals could probably have been avoided, as once again City failed to win a Champions League match.

Kompany told ITV1: "It's very important to defend as a team when corners come in and we've probably let ourselves down on those two occasions. Those two goals were really not good.

"We'll look back at the game, try to see what went wrong, and try to improve. It's not the case that we're not good enough for the Champions League but it's a matter of time. It's unfortunate that we're letting those chances go at the moment.

"We didn't do enough to win tonight and we have to learn from this and take it into the next game.''

Ajax are third in the group and still in with a realistic shot of qualifying, but coach Frank de Boer was disappointed his team did not hold onto their lead. He said: "It is a good sign that the players in the dressing room are disappointed about the result.

"The feeling was that we could make a big step forward towards the next phase - the Europa League or the Champions League - and put City behind us. We gave the goals away cheaply. It was very disappointing for us.

"But you know if you play here it is going to be difficult. Before the game if you were asked to sign for 2-2 you would do that.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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