Manchester City captain Yaya Toure was “furious” and had to be calmed down by officials during their Champions League 2-1 win away at CSKA Moscow after home fans targetted the Ivory Coast player with racial abuse in the form of chanting.
City will make an Official complaint after Toure, standing in as captain in place of the injured Vincent Kompany, informed referee Ovidiu Hategan about the abuse during the game.
Toure said: “I’m not just disappointed, I’m furious.”
“I’m very, very disappointed about what those fans have done.
“I think Uefa has to take action because players with the same colour of skin will always be in the same position.
“For me, as captain, I was wearing an armband which said ‘no to racism’ and I was totally disappointed.
“I told the referee. It was unbelievable and very sad.”
With Russia set to host the World Cup in 2018 the prospect of unsavoury incidents such as these at football grounds witnessed by supporters from around the world will surely force FIFA and UEFA to act.
The incident cast a shadow over a difficult tie which was played on a poor quality pitch which City manager Manuel Pellegrini complained about prior to the game. There had even been reports that parts of the sandy and threadbare pitch had been painted green to make it look more acceptable.
In-form Sergio Aguero came to City’s rescue with a double strike before half time after CSKA Moscow took the lead against the run of play with a goal scored by ex Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic after Keisuke Honda beat Javi Garcia in the air and Tosic got to the ball in front of Pablo Zabaleta to score with a lob past Joe Hart.
Any thoughts of a ‘typical’ City performance were quickly erased as they immediately struck back with an equaliser. Sergei Ignashevich should have done better with David Silva’s cross and lethal hitman Aguero levelled the scores.
Aguero put City in front shortly before the break after he latched onto an Alvaro Negredo flick to head City into the lead.
City thought they had extended their lead after the break but Alvaro Negredo was deemed to have handled Jesus Navas’ cross into the net.
CSKA were not going to lie down, however, and pushed for the equaliser after half time. Seydou Doumbia’s theatrical dive failed to convince the referee.
Hart, rebuilding his battered reputation of late, made a superb save to deny Doumbia’s header early in the second half but was relieved to see Ahmed Musa’s thunderbolt goal chalked off for an earlier foul on Toure. Hart was also on hand in the dying seconds to deny Honda with his feet as City survived a late CSKA onslaught.
Three priceless points in Moscow would, if followed by a win over CSKA at the Etihad next week, see City on the brink of qualifying for the knockout phase.
Pellegrini was afterwards dismayed at the reported abuse shown to Toure and said:
“It is a pity to see that kind of thing. I hope that Uefa will take the right measures.”
He was pleased with the City performance, however:
“I’m very happy. The result is very important for the team. The whole team concentrated with intensity on a difficult pitch.
“Aguero and Silva are both top players and every match they show how they can play football. We are not in the next round but this is very important for us.”