In a dramatic night of League Cup action, Everton defeated Manchester City 2-1 in the semi-final first leg at Goodison Park.
Romelu Lukaku’s 19th goal of the season gave the home side victory, after Jesus Navas cancelled out Ramiro Funes Mori’s opener for Everton.
Funes gave Everton the lead at the stroke of halftime after Willy Caballero saved Ross Barkley’s shot, although the visitor’s claimed the goal was wrongly awarded with Lukaku standing in an offside position in front of Caballero, and appeared to be in the City keeper’s line of vision.
However, referee Robert Madley waved away City’s protests, to gift the home side the advantage.
City equalized in the 76th minute, when Jesus Navas finished a sweeping counter attack following brilliant work by Sergio Aguero.
But Everton had the last laugh two minutes later, when Romelu Lukaku headed home a perfectly timed cross from Gareth Barry.
After the game, City’s manager, Manuel Pellegrini blamed referee Bobby Madley for the defeat, claiming he made an “unbelievable” decision and two “important” mistakes that cost his side.
The Chilean thought Everton’s opening goal should have been disallowed for offside, and believed his side should have had a penalty when Jesus Navas was challenged by Everton substitute Kevin Mirallas.
Pellegrini said in a news conference: “I am disappointed, especially for two very important plays. The first goal is absolutely offside. It is unbelievable the referee or linesman did not give offside.
“Also it was a clear penalty for Jesus Navas; they were two very important decisions. It is a foul inside the box, a clear penalty. But the referee didn’t whistle for both actions. I give my opinion because they were so clear.”
But the 62-year old is confident his side can overcome their first-leg deficit when they meet again at the Etihad Stadium on Jan. 27.
“If you lose 2-1 playing away and if you are not able to win 1-0 at home you don’t deserve to continue,” Pellegrini added.