Man City are a force to reckon with at the moment. Still unbeaten, every team that squares up against the Sky Blues has to fear a barrage of goals – a reputation they have kept up all season.
However, their Wednesday night Champions League encounter against Feyenoord wasn’t a usual goal fest. An 88th-minute winner by Raheem Sterling, which was the only goal of the game, sealed the match in their favor.
The Mancunian giants, who also sit comfortably in the Premier League, will now be hoping for a favorable draw in the next round. However, the encounter did hold one sneaky point of interest that fans did not miss and commented upon heavily.
Kevin De Bruyne picked up a yellow card during the 60th minute, and was subbed off a mere four minutes later. Normally, this would not have been a big deal, as subbing off a player who has been cautioned is generally a wise choice.
But in this case, the implications could have a more sinister tone. The Belgian went into the match with a yellow card already under his belt, which meant that his next booking would ensure a suspension.
With just one match left in the group stages, which is also a pointless one against Shakhtar Donetsk, the back-to-back booking-substitution was brought under scrutiny on Twitter.
Many believe the foul committed was an intentional one on the part of the 26-year-old, in a sly bid to miss a match that is of no importance.
De Bruyne's 'accidental' yellow last night was seven years after Uefa punished Mourinho for instructing Ramos and Alonso to get sent off so they'd be banned for Real's dead rubber. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) November 22, 2017
De Bruyne booked after 60 mins just before being subbed off. Now suspended for their next game… Oh wait, that’ll be the meaningless final group game. #spotfixing
— Richard Jordan (@SpikeJordan10) November 21, 2017
Certainly, losing out on a player of De Bruyne’s caliber and form would be a major setback in the Round of 16, what with the quality of clubs currently in the pool.
It will be interesting to see whether any repercussions will follow the alleged action, which, by virtue of a loophole, is perfectly valid.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.