Everton manager Roberto Martinez says the decision to allow Manchester City’s second goal to stand was “heartbreaking” as his side lost their League Cup semi-final 4-3 on aggregate.
Kevin De Bruyne turned in Raheem Sterling’s cross to put City 2-1 up in the second leg at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday but the ball appeared to have gone out of play in the build-up, with Sergio Aguero’s header sealing a 3-1 win and securing City’s passage into the final against Liverpool.
Martinez told Sky Sports it was “incredible” the referee Martin Atkinson did not spot the ball had gone out before Sterling’s delivery to De Bruyne.
“The second goal is heartbreaking,” he said. “When you watch the replay it’s incredible that you don’t get that decision right.
“It’s impossible to describe how you can feel when you see a decision once more, so clear and so big, in how the game was developing – it’s heartbreaking.
“I don’t think anyone in the stadium would disagree that that goal is the major, major change in that tie.”
Everton took the lead through Ross Barkley’s fine strike but were pegged back by Fernandinho’s deflected shot and Martinez felt luck was against his side.
He said: “The first goal is a deflected shot, it shows that … luck is against you, but I don’t think we ever accepted that, we carried on creating probably the best opportunities at that point.
“As heartbreaking as it is, I would not allow the players or anyone at Everton to get down because I think we are getting in the right way to be able to challenge against teams like Manchester City.
“We’ve done it over two legs and I think now we need to get even stronger and push together and create something very, very special at the end of this season.”