Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the winger's bizarre sending off in the 1-0 win at Manchester City.

A single goal won the day, and it was a tap-in from Wayne Rooney. However, in the second half, the Red Devils almost gifted City a way back into the game when Cristiano Ronaldo picked up his second booking in 10 minutes and was sent off with over 20 minutes still left to play.

With the ball flying towards him, the Portuguese international instinctively put his hands up to protect his face as opposed to heading the ball away and was duly sent for an early bath.

As the champions managed to preserve their lead, Ferguson was not too preoccupied with the decision at full time, but nevertheless suggested that the offence should not have resulted in the No. 7's dismissal and that only external factors resulted in such a decision being taken.

"I've watched it again and he's trying to protect the ball hitting his face. He also thought he heard the whistle. It's not as if he's thrown a hand at the ball to deflect it away or punch it towards goal, it simply hit his hands. If it had been outside the box, the referee would just have given a free-kick, nothing else. The crowd played their part of course and he got sent off." explained Sir Alex on MUTV. --


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