City apologise to Ferdinand while Mancini keeps faith

Mon, Dec 10, 2012, 00:00

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE:Manchester City last night issued a “wholehearted apology” to Rio Ferdinand after the defender was struck by a coin thrown from the crowd when celebrating Robin van Persie’s late winning goal in the Manchester derby.

The Football Association announced it would investigate the incident, which came at the end of a tumultuous match in which a City fan was arrested after running on to the pitch following the Dutch man’s injury-time winner and was intercepted by Joe Hart as he appeared to try and reach Ferdinand. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) also stated that another supporter was detained for a potential racism offence.

Immediately after the match, Ferdinand tweeted: “what a result, 3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p . . . could have at least been a £1 coin!”

Of Hart’s intervention with the City fan, he tweeted: “Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far . . . calm it!”

Sombre note

Alex Ferguson, though, struck a more sombre note. He told MUTV: “It’s just disappointing at the end that a supporter ran on the field and Rio was hit with a coin in the eye. I don’t know whether they are going to stitch it or not, we’ll see. The same thing happened at Chelsea and it was all masked by the carry-on [involving Mark Clattenburg]. Half a seat came on and hit [Michael] Carrick and then coins, lighters, the lot – the game doesn’t need that.”

Roberto Mancini afterwards insisted that they could still retain the title. “I am sure we can win the [FA Cup and League] double. We have the spirit to recover six points, but we must now win four or five games in a row. For 20 minutes they didn’t touch the ball and the first chance they got they scored a goal. We recovered very well and we dominated the second half.”

Robin van Persie’s winner came after Tevez, on for the disappointing Mario Balotelli – whose car was surrounded by United fans after the game – after 52 minutes, left the wall to make it only a three-man barrier.

While Mancini said Balotelli was in danger of throwing his career “out of the window”, he also questioned Tevez for leaving the wall and criticised Samir Nasri, who turned away and then deflected Van Persie’s shot past Hart.

“I understood before that the free-kick was dangerous. I called Carlos to return to the wall, but I was too far away,” said Mancini. Of Nasri’s half-hearted showing, he added: “We [only] had two and a half players there.”

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