Vincent Kompany has angrily asked "why the hell" Manchester City fans were not at Tuesday evening's 2-2 Champions League draw with CSKA Moscow after the Russian club had a large contingent cheering them on at the Arena Khimki despite their stadium ban.
CSKA were given a three-match European ban for the misconduct of supporters including repeated racism offences. Yet at the Khimki around 350 people were present, draped in CSKA colours and cheering the team on so appeared followers of the Russian club.
While City have made an official complaint and Uefa were monitoring the crowd at the match, Kompany did not claim the contingent was a factor in City’s performance. But the captain did say: “No, it didn’t have an effect on the players. It doesn’t have an effect, it’s just little things when you leave with a result like this, obviously you can’t deny there’s a bit of frustration, and I’m not looking for an excuse. But if you want to play it fair then, fair enough, you’ve got to let your sponsors have some tickets but why the hell do we not have any fans here? Why? What have our fans done wrong? So it needs to be looked at, it needs to be changed, because our fans shouldn’t be punished.”
As Uefa allocates up to 300 tickets for sponsors there were rumours that these plus some of the 150 media tickets had been given or sold to fans of CSKA with sources at the governing body admitting they had no control regarding where these ultimately ended up.
Some of the "fans" appeared particularly inebriated with one man falling down drunk on the stroke of half-time. Leonid Slutsky was reluctant to discuss the episode, stating he was "only the CSKA coach".
But Kompany alluded to City again not being treated fairly in the competition, with the draw occurring after Istvan Vad, the Hungarian referee awarded a late penalty – which Bebras Natcho converted – after Seydou Doumbia went down after being challenged by Aleksandar Kolarov in what appeared a questionable decision.
The result means his team have only two points in Group E and after allowing a 2-0 half-time lead to slip, the captain said: “It was a game with two faces, I think. The first half was really, really good, and the second half was as bad as the first half was good. We know that we are better than what we showed in the second half. But in a game of small margins, I sometimes just don’t understand what’s going on.
"I mean, where's common sense sometimes? If in the first half – and I don't want anyone to be sent off, let's make that clear – you're not giving the penalty [for an apparent foul by Sergei Ignashevich on Edin Dzeko in the area] why do you want to make a decision in the second half [for CSKA's penalty]? Why don't you just let it go? That for me is common sense. Now it's a talking point, and obviously we can look at ourselves and it was disappointing again, but little things like this – although I do realise what we were lacking – eventually, even for someone like me who doesn't speak up about referees, it becomes frustrating and it's happened way too many times in this competition."
Asked if there had been no contact on Doumbia for the spot-kick, Kompany said: “It’s one of those things, you know. If you don’t give it in the first half – we can analyse it and look back and some people will say: ‘It’s a penalty’ and others will say: ‘It’s not a penalty’ and that’s their right. But if you don’t give it in the first half, don’t try and make a decision for the sake of making a decision, let it go, and nobody says anything about it.
“Then, now, we have a discussion: did he slip before he actually got the ball or did he then just fall over or was there contact? But the point of the matter is that first half you’re not giving it. So why are you doing it in the second half?”
Kompany refused to accept the penalty decision might cost City a place in the last 16. “It won’t, it won’t. I refuse to think like this. How many times have you seen me here in front of the microphone and just brush it away, forget about it? This one really annoys me and maybe it’s on top of other things as well. You say: No fans. Then all of a sudden you turn up and basically the only team that hasn’t got fans is Man City.
“So who’s getting punished? Who is being done for racism? Man City or Moscow? I don’t have a problem, they’ll say it’s sponsors and so on and they need to give certain allocations, but why are we getting punished, you know? And again, because you’ll have people in your papers writing columns saying ‘he should be looking at his own performance and stuff’ – so, done – we’ve analysed it and we know we should have done better and that but things like this are unacceptable to be honest, there’s just no fairness in it.”
Regarding City being treated unfairly, he added: “There’s no mental block, there’s just occasionally a number of performances that need to be better, that’s all it is. But I’m not going to follow the trend and go against my team, more than the media will do already, that’s your role. In my case I’m 100% convinced we’ll overturn it. People forget we had a strong group stage last year, it’s not every season the same. But this year we’ve made it more difficult than it has to be.”