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Mancini escapes European ban after ref confrontation

Mancini confronts the officials after drawing with Ajax Photo: PA Images

Roberto Mancini will be able to oversee the remainder of Manchester City's Champions League group matches at close quarters after escaping disciplinary action for confronting a referee.

There were suggestions the City boss could incur a touchline ban for his angry reaction after his side were held to a controversial and damaging 2-2 draw by Ajax at the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini walked onto the pitch to remonstrate with referee Peter Rasmussen after City had an 88th-minute Sergio Aguero goal disallowed and Mario Balotelli was denied a penalty in injury time.

But European governing body UEFA have announced that no action will be taken over the incident after the final whistle.

A spokesperson said: "Nothing was reported, neither by the delegate nor by the referee. No disciplinary proceedings are opened."

Despite that, City will continue to rue the decisions which prevented a fine comeback ending with a much-needed victory.

The Barclays Premier League champions now appear to be heading out of the competition after the result left them with just two points and bottom of Group D after four games.

City fell 2-0 behind inside the opening 17 minutes as Siem de Jong twice pounced on poor defending at corners.

Yaya Toure pulled one back with a fine volley and Aguero equalised 16 minutes from time as City showed the urgency required to rescue their faltering campaign.

They thought they had done enough when Aguero turned home from close range but Aleksandar Kolarov was ruled to have strayed marginally offside before crossing.

To compound City's anguish, Balotelli's appeal for a late penalty after having his shirt pulled by Ricardo van Rhijn was ignored as Rasmussen blew the final whistle.

City now need to win their final two group matches against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages.

Even then they will need other results to go their way to avoid premature elimination for a second successive season.

Mancini felt after the game their hopes were "finished" but Toure refuses to believe it is all over for City and will leave their fate in God's hands.

The influential midfielder said: "It is difficult and it is disappointing, but I don't think it is finished.

"We have to continue to work hard. We have a couple of chances - against Real Madrid at home and we go to Dortmund. We have a chance to qualify.

"That is why I love football, I am sure we can make it. We have a fantastic squad and we have the team and ability to do it.

"If we have to go through we have to win these games and believe in God. I'm a believer and I swear maybe we will go through.

"If you have God with you things can sometimes go wrong and you can't make it but we have to continue to believe. I think we can believe in our chance."

City had other good chances with Aguero twice slipping at inopportune moments when clean through and Balotelli bringing a good save out of Kenneth Vermeer with a header in the second half.

Ajax remained disciplined and De Jong twice went close to completing a hat-trick with long-range strikes that tested Joe Hart, but Toure had no doubt City deserved to win.

The 29-year-old, who felt he should had a penalty himself for a trip in the second minute, said: "We were unlucky.

"In the first half, (we conceded at) two set-pieces and after that coming back was quite difficult because Ajax are a good team, they play good football.

"But that is why we are disappointed. I think the referee decided the game.

"For me it was two clear penalties - in the first half and the second half with Mario Balotelli.

"We have to try to forget this game and focus on the second last game because it is going to be very important for the club and Man City."

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