Referees will always go with the big team, and Manchester City, being the champions and richest side in the Premier League, are treated as such. Reading deserved a penalty kick when Gareth Barry handled the ball with his arm in the box, and Reading didn’t deserve to lose as the same Gareth Barry scored the 92nd minute winner while fouling Nicky Shorey.
But that’s football. Human referees make mistakes, plenty of them. Big teams, like Arsenal earlier on the day, make the most of these errors when they face less reputable opponents. Reading were on their way to a deserved draw in one of the biggest upsets this season in England, probably the biggest of them, as they embarassed City with dangerous counter attacks in the final minutes.
But champions, winners, come through. David Silva with a dangerous cross while Gareth Barry leaped high and forward, landing with his arms on Nicky Shorey, preventing from him to leap for the ball while scoring the injury time winner. A foul, 100%. Shorey wasn’t planning on rising, that’s true; it doesn’t matter. Gareth Barry used his hands to create the goal, and Mike Dean, not with his first mistake of the day, simply got caught up in the moment.
Robeto Mancini and City get to fight another day, reducing the United lead to three points, with a game more tha their city rivals and league leaders. Too bad they needed an illegal goal to win and stay in touch of the title race.