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Sterling penalty and other shocking ref decisions

Sterling penalty and other shocking ref decisions

Raheem Sterling and Mykola Matvienko

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Raheem Sterling's form is so good that he's been awarded a penalty for falling over himself.

It happened during Manchester City's 6-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium.

The first of City's two spot-kicks was awarded when Sterling fell over after stubbing his toe on the ground while trying to shoot.

Referee Viktor Kassai seemed convinced defender Mykola Matvienko had clipped the winger and pointed to the spot.

Fans on Twitter have called it the worst ref decision of all time. So we've taken a look at other contenders from over the years:

France v West Germany 1982

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Patrick Battiston was stretchered off in the 1982 World Cup semi-final

France lost this World Cup semi-final to West Germany in the first penalty shootout in World Cup history.

But it might have been oh so very different.

A foul by German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher on France's Patrick Battiston – which resulted in him being knocked out – went unpunished by the ref.

Battiston lost three teeth and was stretchered off with a broken jaw, but the goalie remained on the pitch.

The match ended in a 3-3 draw and went to penalties.

Schumacher blocked France's final spot-kick which helped send his team through to the final.

Argentina v England 1986

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Maradona and the "Hand of God"

Probably the most infamous of them all. Diego Maradona and the "Hand of God" in the World Cup quarter-final.

The Argentine jumped with England goalie Peter Shilton to meet a cross and basically used his hand to beat him in the air.

The ref didn't spot it and the goal was given. Argentina went on to win 2-1.

After the game, Maradona referred to the goal being scored "a little with the hand of God" – and that's what it became known as.

Crystal Palace v Leeds 2003

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The goal wasn't given despite the ball crossing the line

The ball crosses the line during the 2003 FA Cup sixth round match between Leeds and Crystal Palace. It was a goal.

Michael Duberry managed to clear the ball out of the goal – but after it had crossed the line.

The match officials didn't see the incident so the goal wasn't given.

Had the goal been allowed, Palace would have taken the lead in a match. They went on to lose 2-1.

VAR anyone?

Australia v Croatia 2006

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Graham Poll said he couldn't understand why he did what he did

Referee Graham Poll was sent home from the World Cup after he gave a player three yellow cards.

He booked Croatia's Josip Simunic three times in his team's game against Australia.

Before the mistake he'd been tipped as a possible World Cup final referee, but this big error ended any such hope.

He retired from officiating at international tournaments after that.

In his 2007 autobiography, Seeing Red, he recalled the event: "I have replayed the incident a thousand times in my head, I don't really know why I did what I did.

"I cannot fully understand why I got it wrong."

Watford v Reading 2008

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Referee Stuart Attwell surrounded by Watford players

Referee Stuart Attwell awarded a goal to Reading, even though one hadn't been scored.

He thought Watford player John Eustace had scored an own goal during a Championship match.

But he had actually played the ball a good four yards wide of the post, before a Reading player hooked it back into play and away.

At the time, Reading winger Stephen Hunt said it "was probably the worst decision I've ever witnessed in football".

England v Germany 2010

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Wayne Rooney gestures to the linesman after the goal wasn't awarded

Another sore one for England. This time against Germany during the World Cup in 2010.

England were 2-1 down when a shot by Frank Lampard hit the cross bar before landing over the goal line and then bouncing out.

Referee Mauricio Espinosa continued play despite backlash from fans and other players.

Germany went onto thrash England 4-1.

The ref was dropped for the rest of the tournament and it's said to have been a key reason for the introduction of goal-line technology.

Chelsea v Arsenal 2014

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Kieran Gibbs reacts after he was sent off

This was a weird one.

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handled the ball in the box during a game against Chelsea and should've been sent off.

But referee Andre Marriner dismissed Kieran Gibbs instead.

To make matters worse, Oxlade-Chamberlain even appeared to tell the ref it was him, but was waved away.

It got worse for Arsenal who were thrashed 6-0.

Speaking a few days afterwards, Marriner said it had played on his mind.

"It knocks you for six to be honest. There's a lot of talk out there that referees make decisions, go home and don't care about it but that's so far from the truth"

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