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Bellamy may face ban for altercation

If a controversial derby defeat was not hard enough to accept, Manchester City must now sweat on possible action against their striker Craig Bellamy.

If a controversial derby defeat was not hard enough to accept, Manchester City must now sweat on possible action against their striker Craig Bellamy. The Welshman is the subject of an English FA inquiry after an altercation with a supporter who came on to the pitch following Michael Owen's winner in United's dramatic 4-3 victory at Old Trafford. Bellamy was pictured shoving a hand in the face of the fan who confronted him and was then taken away by stewards.

An FA spokesman said: "We are investigating the incident and we will be looking at the referee's match report." Bellamy could be charged with improper conduct and punished with a fine or suspension. City lost Emmanuel Adebayor for three games following the stamp on Robin van Persie while the striker is facing another charge of improper conduct for his celebration in front of Arsenal fans. Mark Hughes, the City manager, is hoping disciplinary chiefs will show understanding in the matter.

Tensions were running high and Bellamy had scored twice to put City on level terms at 3-3 before Owen struck six minutes into injury time when only four had been signalled. Hughes said: "I seem to recall Brian Clough clipping someone around the ear, and he was lauded as a national hero. Maybe it will be the same case with Craig, but I doubt it. "I'm sure people will make a nuisance about it, but the guy should not have been on the pitch. That is not acceptable."

The FA could also take action against United after the City substitute Javier Garrido was hit by a coin thrown from the home section at half time. With his teammate Carlos Tevez nearby, it appeared the former United striker - jeered on his first return to Old Trafford - was the target. The incidents soured a great spectacle between the two rivals which showed this season's title race will not be easy to predict.

Darren Fletcher, who scored twice for United, said: "The teams in the Premier League get better and better every season. It gets harder to win the title. City are a good side and they are going to be up there around the top four." akhan@thenational.ae