Sherwood lambasts Benteke decision as Villa miss out in late drama

Tim Sherwood slammed the officials after a pivotal offside decision went against Christian Benteke in Aston Villa's loss to Manchester City.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood slammed a crucial offside call that went against his team in Saturday's 3-2 Premier League defeat at Manchester City.

The FA Cup finalists came back from 2-0 down to draw level at the Etihad Stadium thanks to maiden goals for the club from Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez - the latter strike coming five minutes from time.

Top scorer Christian Benteke then broke clear of the home defence, but was flagged offside before being brought down by City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

To compound Villa's frustration, Fernandinho then gave City another lead a minute from time that they would not relinquish, and Sherwood struggled to contain his anger at the Benteke decision.

"You don't need me to tell you, it's blatant isn't it? It's not offside and it's a penalty," he told Sky Sports.

"It's not hard, that's what they [assistant referees] are paid to do. It's tight and it's one that's gone against us."

Villa lie 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone following wins for fellow strugglers Hull City and Leicester City earlier on Saturday.

They have also played a game more than the three sides immediately below them, although Sherwood was keen to highlight the positives of a performance that saw his players hit back from a nightmare start.

Brad Guzan horribly miscued a clearance to hand the division's leading scorer Sergio Aguero his 21st league goal of the season after three minutes, but Villa had proved a match for the reigning champions when Aleksandar Kolarov curled home a 66th-minute free-kick.

"Coming here and playing like we did, to get nothing out of the game is a big disappointment," Sherwood added.

"I think we edged it to be honest. We came to the home of the champions and controlled possession, certainly in the first period on the back of a devastating start for us.

"We showed a lot of character, bounced back and one of the decisions has cost us."