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Football | FA Cup

Yaya Toure © Getty Images

Toure lets fly at ref as derby looms



Yaya Toure has said he would "prefer" Thursday's Manchester derby to go ahead without a referee after claiming his City side had been on the wrong end of decisions in their FA Cup semifinal loss to Arsenal.

Referee Craig Pawson was in the spotlight after City were denied what appeared to be a legitimate goal before losing 2-1 to the Gunners at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero had a goal disallowed after the officials ruled Leroy Sane's cross had gone out of play before reaching the City striker, a decision which replays indicated was wrong and Toure said his side had been denied an early penalty as well.

"I think the referees have to stop this. I am very disappointed," said Toure. "It is not the first time, there have been a couple of times."

Asked if the ball had stayed in play, Toure was in no doubt: "Definitely, and it was a penalty and something more.

"But what can we do? If (we) talk about the referee the FA is going to come in for the punishment if we think like that, but I think I need to sleep and rest and forget this game."

"If we have to talk about referees, people are going to say 'we complain' but when we see the highlights, for me it is very disappointing."

Looking ahead to the derby with Manchester United, the veteran Ivory Coast midfielder added: "Maybe on Thursday we are going to have a better referee or maybe play without a referee -- I'd prefer that."

Thursday's match could have a big impact on the race for a top four spot in the Premier League and the battle for Champions League qualification.

Pep Guardiola's City are currently fourth, with Jose Mourinho's United just a point behind in fifth place and with both sides having played 32 of their 38 league games this season.

"It is a very big game, an important game," said Toure. "We have to do that job and we will see what can happen. We hope we are going to have a good referee."



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