Linesman apologises to Joe Hart for "switching off" during Bernardo Silva goal
Joe Hart wouldn't have expected much sympathy from his former teammates when he returned to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
While Hart remains a popular figure on the blue side of Manchester, the Burnley goalkeeper would have anticipated a busy 90 minutes when the Clarets travelled to Manchester City this weekend.
And he certainly got that as City ran out 5-0 winners to keep themselves top of the Premier League table.
After somewhat containing the defending champions for the opening half, Burnley shipped four goals after the break and the game turned on a contentious moment shortly after half-time.
After Leroy Sane went down in the visitors' box, a decision was required of referee Jonathan Moss. The home fans expected a penalty while Burnley's defenders stopped, expecting Sane to be booked as the ball looked set to dribble out of play.
But David Silva played to the whistle, raced to the byline and cut the ball back into the path of his namesake, Bernardo Silva, who hammered his shot home.
Hart was adamant that the ball had gone out of play before the Spanish playmaker's pull-back and the veteran goalkeeper might have been right as he received an unexpected apology after the game.
"The linesman apologised for switching off, but that’s huge, it’s hard to take," Hart said, via the Lancashire Telegraph.
"I appreciate the human side but he apologised so he must be pretty clear it went out."
We have dedicated a goalkeeper training pitch at the CFA to Club legend Joe Hart in recognition of his 12-year association with the Club 💙 #mancity pic.twitter.com/VqxKOpmBfy
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 19, 2018
Manager Sean Dyche insisted that City ought to have been reduced to nine men when he delivered his post-match interview to the BBC.
And while the sentimentality of a return to the club he called home for a decade was not lost on Hart, he left the Etihad understandably disappointed.
"There is a feeling of frustration in my chest right now," Hart added
"The crowd reaction was nice but I came here as a Burnley player, it was far from a perfect day."