Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Everton boss David Moyes could both face censure after a remarkable touchline bust-up last night.
The rival bosses angrily confronted each other as a compelling Premier League encounter -- which Everton won 2-0 after goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta -- went into injury time.
The pair needed to be separated by fourth official Howard Webb at Eastlands after Mancini took exception to Moyes picking up the ball, an action the Italian interpreted as time-wasting.
The incident ended with both being sent to the dressing rooms for the closing moments by referee Peter Walton.
Mancini and Moyes both played down the fracas afterwards.
"I have spoken with David and if I made a mistake I am sorry," said Mancini.
"I wanted to get the ball because there was another five minutes at the end.
"This can happen in a game but it is finished now.
"I was frustrated for the players because we played a good game and sometimes it can happen where scoring a goal is impossible."
The incident perhaps gave an indication of just how much Mancini is feeling the pressure as he attempts to steer the ambitious club into the Champions League.
Victory would have lifted City into fourth but they remain a place lower, two points behind Tottenham, after their first home loss of the season.
Moyes defended his actions and cheekily claimed he might even have been doing City a favour.
Moyes said: "Next time I might just let the ball run through.
"I caught it because I was making a substitution, I would have thought it would actually have helped him.
"I was very surprised, I didn't know what I had done wrong.
"Maybe I held on to the ball a second or two longer than I should have done but I was trying to make a substitution.
"But if I had let the ball go, let it run down the touchline -- I actually speeded it up."
City dominated for large spells of the game but Everton enjoyed the better chances throughout.
Cahill put them ahead with a trademark header after 33 minutes before Arteta, with his fourth goal in four games, wrapped up the win five minutes from time.
Everton remain in eighth but, after just two defeats in 17 games, are now just three points behind Liverpool and Aston Villa in sixth and seventh. Moyes still refuses to speak publicly of overhauling the sides above them but could reflect with satisfaction on a double over City.
The two clubs were involved in a bitter transfer wrangle over Joleon Lescott, who joined City for £22m, last summer.
"We had a terrible start to the season and a lot of that had to do with Manchester City," Moyes said.
"I would rather come here tonight and show a bit of dignity with our result."