Manchester United equaliser a 'joke' decision, City defender Manuel Akanji says

Manchester City players Riyad Mahrez and Manuel Akanji protest with the assistant referee after Manchester United's equaliser in the derby at Old Trafford.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji has described the decision to allow Bruno Fernandes' equaliser for Manchester United in the derby as a 'joke'.

United forward Marcus Rashford was in a clear offside position when the pass was played through by Casemiro and even though he did not touch the ball, he was surely interfering with play as he shielded it and then left it for Fernandes to finish.

The referee's assistant raised his flag, but the goal was confirmed by VAR and United went on to win the game 2-1 after Rashford scored again a few minutes later.

"To be honest for me the first goal is a joke that it can be allowed like this," Akanji told the BBC after the game.

"I see Rashford, he’s clearly offside so I play him offside. He runs to the last second and stops when the ball is right in front of him and right in front of Eddy [Ederson] to score the goal. Then he stops because Bruno is calling him because he’s not offside.

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"I understand he doesn’t touch the ball but he runs for 30 metres, he’s chasing the ball. It’s clearly offside."

And he added: "Also the referee doesn’t even look at the situation. When it gets explained at the beginning of the year I thought it was clearly offside. In the end it’s not offside."

City's players were furious and Akanji's team-mate Nathan Ake said: "He definitely interfered, in my opinion, but the referee gives it and after that we lost our way.

"We tried to maybe force it straight away to get back into the game but we left ourselves too open for the counter-attack and they were waiting for that."

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.