Sport Soccer

Monday 21 August 2017

Manchester City stunned by Tottenham revival as ref snubs Sterling penalty claim

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made his frustration known on the touchline
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made his frustration known on the touchline

Tottenham staged a dramatic second-half comeback to snatch a controversial 2-2 draw at Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

Spurs were run ragged for an hour by a resurgent City at the Etihad Stadium and conceded twice in quick succession to Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne after blunders by Hugo Lloris.

But second-placed Spurs hit back through Dele Alli and then grabbed an equaliser through substitute Son Heung-min after Raheem Sterling was denied what seemed an obvious penalty.

The result ended Tottenham's run of six consecutive wins and may prove costly in their attempts to make up ground on leaders Chelsea.

The draw also meant City missed the chance to return to the top four, despite a performance much improved on last week's capitulation at Everton.

Pep Guardiola's men started as if determined to make a statement after their Goodison Park nightmare and completely dominated a one-sided first half. Playing with the usual high energy associated with Guardiola, but also a noticeable desire to knock the ball forward earlier, City created numerous clear-cut chances.

With Tottenham ragged in defence and forced to change from a back three to a back four midway through the half, it was remarkable the visitors' goal remained intact at the break.

City pounded the Spurs rearguard from the outset with Pablo Zabaleta denied early on by a timely challenge from Toby Alderweireld. Sergio Aguero fired a shot narrowly over and had another run on goal cut off by a cynical tug by Eric Dier.

David Silva brought a good save from Lloris from distance and Zabaleta shot wide before Aguero robbed Dier and also tested the goalkeeper.

Sane missed the target from a free header and Lloris plucked an Aguero header from the air before beating away another effort from the Argentinian. Raheem Sterling was also thwarted by Lloris and had a penalty appeal turned down after tangling with Victor Wanyama.

Spurs offered little in the first half aside from a long-range attempt from Wanyama, which flew well over.

If Guardiola wondered how his team were not leading at the interval, they soon put it right with a quickfire double - albeit with a helping hand from Lloris.

De Bruyne picked out a Sane run with a long pass and the German kept his composure, calmly rolling the ball into the net after Lloris rushed out of goal in a failed attempt to head clear.

Minutes later Lloris blundered again, this time fumbling a low cross from Sterling and presenting De Bruyne with a simple tap-in.

Both goals were avoidable from Spurs' point of view but the scoreline looked more realistic, and that finally jolted the visitors into action.

Kyle Walker seized on a loose ball and whipped in a dangerous cross which the in-form Alli headed home to give Spurs a lifeline.

It was one they took advantage of, but only in highly controversial circumstances. Sterling was furious when another penalty appeal fell on deaf ears after a challenge by Danny Rose, but he and manager Guardiola were outraged after another more blatant foul in the box went unpunished.

Sterling was put clean through on goal but was pushed in the back by Walker as he shaped to shoot. He opted to carry on his run but was off balance and Lloris saved. Guardiola was livid the shove had gone unnoticed by referee Andre Marriner.

Just moments later City were caught out at the other end, with Spurs substitute Son pouncing for a 77th-minute equaliser from Harry Kane's clever pass.

Guardiola sent on new signing Gabriel Jesus for his debut in a late attempt to salvage the win. Within moments the Brazilian headed wide and had a close-range effort disallowed for offside, but City ended frustrated.

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