Jude Bellingham is still pondering what might have been, after he was denied a seemingly legitimate goal in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium.
Premier League leaders City will take a 2-1 quarter-final advantage to Signal Iduna Park next week after Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute, shortly after Dortmund captain Marco Reus cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s first-half opener. But a major talking point came shortly before half-time when teenage midfielder Bellingham caught City goalkeeper Ederson in possession to be presented with an empty net, only for referee Ovidiu Hategan to penalise him for a perceived high boot.
Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan sounded his whistle before the 17-year-old slammed into an unguarded net, meaning that VAR could not be consulted.
Bellingham was left puzzled by the decision and duly voiced his sentiments afterwards.
“I definitely think I won the ball fairly It’s a bit frustrating at a time when they’ve got so many cameras watching the game that they don’t wait for me to put it in the net and then check it,” Bellingham told BT Sport.
“But it’s football, it’s life and you’ve just got to get on with it.
“All I got told is I’d been booked and it was a free-kick to them. Apparently, I had my studs up and caught the goalie and it was a foul.”
Bellingham was also involved, alongside Erling Haaland, in the slick build-up for Reus’ well-taken equaliser and he believes Edin Terzic’s Dortmund have reasons to be optimistic ahead of the return clash against City, who have gone out at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons.
“I think we frustrated them well when we had the ball. At times they found it quite hard to break us down and we used the ball quite well, quite efficiently,” he said.
“For our goal I think it’s a brilliant bit of play to put Marco in and it’s a great finish.
“We’re disappointed to concede so late but we’ll use that away goal in the second leg and see what we can do.”
Bellingham conceded it was an exhausting experience being pitted against the sublime De Bruyne, whose cross towards Ilkay Gundogan led to Foden’s winner in Manchester.
“I’m knackered now. They’re brilliant. They’re one of the best teams in the world, if not the best,” he added.
“The way they move the ball and the way they go to regain the ball after they lose it is world-class.
“If you give De Bruyne that much room in the box he’s going to score and if you give him that much time around the box he’s going to put in a ball that damages us.
“I’ve got a bleeding knee from chasing him around!”
Story by Sammy Wejinya