Well, you could argue Sergio Aguero experienced what recovering alcoholics like to call a moment of clarity after he scored his final goal for Manchester City in a milestone 10th hat-trick on Monday.

"I honestly thought it was my chest," Aguero said after the Sky Blues' 3-1 victory in the English Premier League over Arsenal at Etihad Stadium, Manchester. "But now I have seen it on the TV it was handball."

The striker's hat-trick (he has 14 now in his top-tier professional career but has one fewer than Alan Shearer in the EPL's 27-year history) against the Gunners came in the mould of a header, a right-foot tap-in and, controversially, propelling the ball into the net with his left arm while sliding in to meet a deft cross.

For the record, as good as the Argentine is — it takes something special to bag so many three-goal hauls in a match — the true grafter was Raheem Sterling in weaving his magic in the final two scoring moves.


But I digress. My preoccupation is with Aguero's confession, which puts his third goal up there with the "Hand of God" effort from compatriot Diego Maradona during the Fifa World Cup quarterfinal in the 2-1 victory over England in front of 114,000 fans in Mexico on June 22, 1986.

Okay the legendary Maradona — who followed up his controversial 51st-minute goal with the "Goal of the Century" against the Poms at Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City, for his world cup-winning nation — got away with it at the highest echelon of the beautiful game in the yesteryear.

It's baffling how Aguero managed to keep a straight face, more than three decades later.

I mean, the English scribes are almost tripping over themselves trying to heap plaudits on the 30-year-old on the premise that Manchester City were simply all over the Gunners and the offence hardly warrants attention.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola describes Aguero's intentions as "perfect" in the game.

Among other terms journalists used to characterise his overall performance include "natural-born predator", "cold blooded", "ruthless" and "rapier (sharp-pointed sword) finisher".

For what it's worth, I'd like to add "cheat" to the list.

I hear the eye patch-wearing Sky Blue faithful and the endless streams of soothsayers echoing sentiments of acceptable levels of gamesmanship. You know, the argument of if the referees and their sidekicks haven't deemed it to be illegal then play on.


It takes me back to the ISPS Handa Premiership match in Napier on Sunday when Team Wellington walloped Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United 6-3. The hosts had got in the face of referee Ben O'Connell when he awarded a penalty kick, which substitute Ross Allen had slotted for a 6-2 lead, in the 87th minute.

O'Connell had done a sterling job up to that point, religiously waving on play for numerous cries of "handball" when ball hit the hand.

Did the whistleblower see something others hadn't from his privileged position?

Finding it difficult to reach a decisive verdict on O'Connell's ruling, Team Wellington assistant coach Scott Hales felt the Bay defender's arm was "in a natural position".

"I wouldn't have given it and everyone on our bench didn't think it was but, hey, the referees have a better perspective so by the letter of the law it is a penalty.

"It's different when you're out there and you have a different angle so we're just on the sidelines and we guess more than anything," he said with a laugh.


Hales is right in every aspect but it still isn't a laughing matter. Sure, Bay United's fate was sealed but even a losing scoreline can start encroaching the zone of humiliation for teams caught on the wrong side of the ledger as they attempt to salvage some pride.

In the Aguero case, it is inexcusable that modern technology isn't employed to prevent such farcical situations occurring on arguably the most glamorised stage in global team sport.

It's not as if the striker is a cricketer who isn't sure if he has faintly feathered a ball to the slips while fishing with his bat outside of off-stump to a Trent Boult or Jasprit Bumrah delivery.

How Aguero didn't know his hand from his chest is ludicrous. Besides, when juxtaposed with a cricket ball, the object he propelled into the net with his arm has a diameter of 22cm compared to an 8cm one.

Nevertheless, sometimes, it seems, even technology isn't enough.

Players like Wellington Phoenix's player Louis Fenton should fess up when they know they have committed an offence, akin to the hand-ball foul against Sydney FC last month. Photo/Photosport
Players like Wellington Phoenix's player Louis Fenton should fess up when they know they have committed an offence, akin to the hand-ball foul against Sydney FC last month. Photo/Photosport

In the round 15 Hyundai A-League match at Westpac Stadium, Wellington Phoenix midfielder Louis Fenton had indubitably stuck out his hand to deflect the ball from harm's way following a freekick from Sydney FC on January 23.


Inexplicably, referee Daniel Elder, after a referral from the video assistant referee, viewed the footage to deem it ball to hand — no penalty, in Phoenix's 1-0 loss.

Fenton, having missed a chesting effort in the 18m box, propelled the bouncing ball over the goal line for a cornerkick.

If there was any doubt, one only had to look at his narrowing eyes for culpability — referees have for years ruled on players' body language.

But officials make mistakes.

Should the Fenton types simply put their hand up, especially when the Kiwi franchise makes a lot of noise about Aussie refs wearing eye patches?

I suppose therein lies the need for technology assistance.


In the face of overwhelming evidence, even after the game, they should still be held accountable and appropriate punishment meted out in pursuit of elevating an overriding quality fast evaporating from the sporting arena — honesty.