Thursday 27 April 2017

Snappy Terriers hold City to replay

Huddersfield 0 Manchester City 0

Sergio Aguero looks dejected as yet another goal attempt goes awry. Photo: Reuters
Sergio Aguero looks dejected as yet another goal attempt goes awry. Photo: Reuters

Luke Edwards

Another FA Cup encounter diminished in significance by financial distraction, another tie supposedly undermined by priorities elsewhere, but this was a fantastic game that merely lacked a decisive outcome.

Played amid a raucous atmosphere, this was a thrilling clash between an impressive Huddersfield team chasing promotion in the Championship and an in-form Manchester City side with a Champions League game against Monaco next week.

Huddersfield Town's Philip Billing in action with Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta Photo: Reuters / Andrew Yates
Huddersfield Town's Philip Billing in action with Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta Photo: Reuters / Andrew Yates

Sadly, it ended in a replay, the nightmare outcome for both. The extra game will mean City need to cut short a winter training camp in Dubai. Huddersfield will postpone their league game against Wolves and cram another match into a congested fixture list. The only sour note for the Terriers was the bottle thrown at City's substitutes in the second half, the missile narrowly missing Raheem Sterling. The FA are likely to investigate.

Huddersfield made their intentions clear from the start. David Wagner's team treated City like they would Burton Albion, thrusting forward, pressing high, clattering into their fluorescent orange-and-purple-clad opponents, passing quickly and smoothly.

Huddersfield were only denied the lead by a tight offside call when Philip Billing swept the ball into the top corner, but the goal was chalked off as Collin Quaner was judged to be interfering with play in an offside position.

The Terriers, who played like one, had other chances too. Rajiv van La Parra should have opened the scoring when he fired straight at Claudio Bravo. City were not enjoying themselves, but could still have taken the lead before half-time as Sergio Aguero, restored to the team because of an injury to Gabriel Jesus, wasted two wonderful openings.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

The first came straight from a long kick from Bravo, but with goalkeeper Joel Coleman stranded, Aguero lifted a shot over the unguarded goal, the second when he was denied by an excellent save. Aguero was kept out again by Coleman early in the second half, cutting inside and making an angle for the shot, but the goalkeeper got down sharply to turn it away from goal.

"I'm new to English football," said Guardiola when asked if he would have preferred extra-time and penalties rather than a replay.

"Don't ask me, I am new in your beautiful country. You have to ask the brilliant brains of [behind] the decisions."

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