Manchester City were once again denied by VAR against Tottenham Hotspur as the two teams drew 2-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock mid-way through the first period with a fantastic close-range header. Erik Lamela scored an equaliser out of the blue with a low shot from range but Sergio Aguero then claimed the lead back as he turned home an excellent cross from Kevin De Bruyne. Spurs struggled throughout the evening but they were level once again in the second-half as Lucas Moura came off of the bench to equalise.
The Citizens were frustrated in the closing stages but thought they had snatched a precious win as Gabriel Jesus powered home but the goal was ruled out by VAR for a handball to ensure that the points were shared.
Sterling steps up again
An exhilarating break from former Spurs man Kyle Walker almost saw City open the scoring early on. The full-back raced down the right-flank and cut the ball back to Sterling, only for the ball to then be deflected over the crossbar following the forward’s shot.
He was eventually on the scoresheet though as he found acres of room at the back post to nod De Bruyne’s tantalising cross past Hugo Lloris and into the Spurs net.
Lamela equalises from nothing
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were really struggling to come to terms with their hosts and lacked any real chances of note before the City goal. That was until Lamela manufactured himself some room, raced towards the penalty area and placed the ball into the bottom corner to haul Spurs level to the shock of the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola’s troops eventually seized the lead back though and it was a familiar pairing that masterminded it. De Bruyne’s low cross picked out the ever-dangerous Aguero. The Argentine striker had managed to get ahead of his marker and brilliantly cushioned the ball into the far corner of the net.
Ilkay Gundogan should have got a third again from a De Bruyne centre just before the break but put his effort marginally wide.
Substitutes pay dividends for Spurs again
As in the first-half, City dominated the majority of the play following the break. However, that did not mean anything as Spurs drew level through substitute Moura who leapt above Walker from a corner just after his introduction to flick the ball home.
An error from Lloris almost saw City gifted the lead once again as he failed to claim a corner and Bernardo Silva attempted to steer the ball home but it bounced off of the crossbar. The hosts continued to dominate the possession but were unable to break through a stubborn Spurs rearguard.
VAR controversy once again
Despite the frustration, Jesus thought he had scored a winning goal as the ball fell to him from a corner and he took a touch to power it beyond Lloris. Following the celebrations however, the goal was ruled out by VAR due to a handball, resulting in both teams having to share the points at the Etihad.
Considering Spurs’ performance at the Etihad, Pochettino will be delighted with the result. Tottenham again were not that convincing and really struggled to create any real chances of note. However, credit has to be paid for how clinical they were when opportunities came there way – even with the intervention of VAR. City meanwhile will feel extremely hard done by following an extremely positive performance.
Manchester City: Ederson (6); Zinchenko (6), Laporte (7), Otamendi (7), Walker (7); De Bruyne (8), Rodri (7) (D. Silva (N/A), 78′), Gundogan (7); Sterling (8), Aguero (7) (Jesus (7), 66′), B. Silva (7) (Mahrez (N/A), 80′).
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (6); Rose (7), Alderweireld (7), Sanchez (6), Walker-Peters (6); Ndombele (6), Winks (6) (Moura (7), 56′), Sissoko (6); Eriksen (6) (Skipp (N/A), 90+1′), Lamela (7) (Lo Celso (N/A), 85′), Kane (5).
Goals: Sterling (20′), Lamela (23′), Aguero (35′), Moura (56′), Jesus (90+2′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Sterling (26′)
Red Cards: N/A
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