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Opposition view

Posted on 9 November 2008  - 12:00

Mark Hughes felt the first half sending off of Gelson Fernandes changed the course of Sunday's clash at Eastlands.

Opposition view

Mark Hughes felt the first half sending off of Gelson Fernandes changed the course of Sunday's clash at Eastlands.

The midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences - fouls on Luka Modric and David Bentley - with only 26 minutes on the clock.

Darren Bent levelled Robinho's opener soon after and the same player struck for victory after 64 minutes.

City boss Hughes said: "Up to the sending-off, we were very much in the ascendency and comfortable with the way the game was panning out.

"Obviously we were disappointed with the sending-off, the first booking was valid as Gelson had slid into the back of their player so by the letter of the law, that's a booking.

"With the second one I felt that the referee had not any stage of the game given any players the benefit of the doubt with consideration of the conditions out there. I think Bentley nipped the ball past Gelson, there was the barest of contact and I don't think Bentley was actually in control of the ball when the slight contact was made.

"These things change games and then we conceded the first goal, it was a straight ball down the middle that squirmed under Richard's (Dunne) foot, so they took advantage and equalised.

"We had to remain positive even when we went down to 1-2, and we worked hard all over the pitch when down to nine men. The qualities we showed augurs well for the future, the lads showed some real character."