After this ultra-professional win over Norwich City, Vincent Kompany branded the Uefa sanction that Manchester City may face for their fans booing of the Champions League's anthem a "joke".
This is a description most right-minded folk would agree with. The jeering came before last month's 2-1 victory over Sevilla. Tomorrow evening the Sky Blues are at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium for the return Group D match.
Asked about the governing body’s deliberations over whether to charge the club, Kompany said: “It’s a joke. We have played many games in Europe where there has been racial abuse and we have had to put up with it. And there have been times when we have been sanctioned in the same way as the team that was actually perpetrating those chants.”
Last October, City fans were banned from attending a group match at CSKA Moscow due to the Russian club’s stadium ban for offences which included racist behaviour. Kompany said: “In Moscow we weren’t allowed to have any support inside the stadium – I don’t see what our fans did wrong. I have experienced it as well when I was a kid playing at Anderlecht, certain games in Europe where you had a lot of racial abuse. So in that sense this is not justifiable – there is nothing holy about the Champions League anthem. If something is happening and fans are not happy about it, they are allowed to show their discontent.”
There was only happiness and pride from within City ranks at the patience shown to finally defeat Alex Neil’s stubborn Canaries who came to frustrate and nearly achieved the mission.
The Scot set up his side in a 3-4-3 formation for the first time during his tenure and until halfway into the second half City failed to break them down.
City missed the injured David Silva’s creative genius but on 67 minutes Nicolás Otamendi decided to intervene.
The Argentinian had been a powerhouse in defence all afternoon. A display of tackling, anticipation, and muscular intent was an illustration of why City took him from Valencia for £32 million. Goals from central defenders also help pay the bills. And when Kevin De Bruyne floated in a corner from the right Otamendi's towering leap and header past John Ruddy was the act of a thoroughbred.
The home fans hoped a City goal glut would ensue. Instead Joe Hart produced a howler reminiscent of his struggles two seasons ago, dropping a regulation Robbie Brady cross for Cameron Jerome to equalise with seven minutes left.
Kompany said: “You get those days. Joe hasn’t set a foot wrong for us in a long, long time – it’s good for him that it will be forgotten because the result was good. In the end it was not a bad day to make a mistake.”
City had scored late winners against Crystal Palace, Borussia Monchengladbach and Sevilla and they repeated the trick here. Raheem Sterling entered as an early second-half replacement and his goal-bound shot was blocked by Russell Martin's arm. The visiting captain was sent off and Yaya Touré slammed in the winner from the penalty spot.
Moments later Sterling claimed another penalty by drawing a trip from Brady. Touré had been replaced – a decision he seemed unhappy with – and Aleksandar Kolarov missed the spot-kick.
It did not matter. The three points keeps City top above Arsenal on goal difference.
Pellegrini said: "If you want to win the Premier League, you must try to play every game as a final. You know that every time you have to play against any team, especially away, both sides can win. That's why it's the best league in the world." Guardian Service