Match Report

VAR denies late Jesus goal as City held

DELIGHT: City's players celebrate Raheem Sterling's opener.
Premier League
Premier League
Sat 17 Aug
Raheem Sterling 
Sergio Agüero 
Erik Lamela 
Lucas Moura 
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City were denied an injury time winner against Spurs as VAR fortune again favoured the London side who instead claimed a 2-2 draw.

The Blues dominated large periods of the game and were twice ahead through Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero goals, only to be pegged back each time by a Tottenham side who clung on by their fingernails at times.

And if they tell you lightning doesn't strike twice, don't believe them as VAR once again robbed City of a last-gasp winner when Gabriel Jesus' goal was chalked off for reasons that were anything but clear the time.

The only disappointment for the Blues was that from the 30 shots at goal, only two resulted in goals after a performance that deserved far more than a solitary point.

                        LEADER_Kyle Walker issues instructions early on_
LEADER_Kyle Walker issues instructions early on_

What happened

With the Etihad Stadium bathed in late afternoon sunshine, the champions started their home Premier League campaign against last season’s beaten Champions League finalists.

City started with typical energy and verve, pinning Spurs back and forcing errors with the high press and were unlucky not go ahead on seven minutes after a glorious move – started by Ederson and continued by Bernardo and Kyle Walker – ended with Raheem Sterling’s shot from close range deflected over.

                        GOAL MACHINE : Raheem Sterling wheels away after netting his fifth goal of the season.
GOAL MACHINE : Raheem Sterling wheels away after netting his fifth goal of the season.

The Blues felt aggrieved on 12 minutes when Rodrigo appeared to be wrestled to the floor as a corner came in, but VAR decided there was nothing doing – TV replays suggested City might have had a case.

It was total domination at that stage and on 20 minutes, the Blues were rewarded when Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found the head of Sterling who put the ball past Hugo Lloris from a difficult angle.

But the lead would last just three minutes as Tottenham made a rare venture out of their half to score with their first shot on target, a low shot from 20 yards past an unsighted Ederson from Erik Lamela.

Whether it was deserved or not is immaterial – but it did feel like a cheap goal to concede.

                        BLINDER : The sun was out for our game against Spurs_
BLINDER : The sun was out for our game against Spurs_

City resumed full throttle football and deservedly were ahead again on 34 minutes and once again it was the brilliance of De Bruyne who created the goal, fizzing in a low drive for Aguero to sweep past Lloris from close range.

Ilkay Gundogan should have scored a few minutes before the break after De Bruyne – again – picked the German out with a low cross but he struck his shot inches wide.

Spurs’ goal continued to live a charmed life as Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aguero, Bernardo and De Bruyne all went close just after the restart as the Blues resumed near total control.

And yet, despite the being outplayed for long periods, Tottenham were level before the hour as Lucas Moura headed home from a corner just seconds after replacing Harry Winks.

Like a relentless machine, City began again, peppering the Spurs goal, creating chance after chance .

As the game looked to be heading towards a draw, Gabriel Jesus collected the ball from a corner, beat his man and hammered a low shot into the bottom corner for what seemed like the winning goal.

The celebrations lasted well over a minute before VAR - not used throughout - again denied City a dramatic last gasp goal against Tottenham. 

                        FAMILIAR FOE : Gabriel Jesus' late strike was chalked off for a handball in the build up.
FAMILIAR FOE : Gabriel Jesus' late strike was chalked off for a handball in the build up.


Aguero’s goal was his first in eight matches against Spurs and his 11th in 15 games against them.

Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne

For so much of last season we missed the Belgian’s brilliance and at times, it looks as though he’s trying to make up for lost time, packing so much quality and endeavour int each performance.

Along with Bernardo and Rodri, he was outstanding against Tottenham.

                        STAR MAN : Kevin De Bruyne looks for City's third_
STAR MAN : Kevin De Bruyne looks for City's third_


“We played incredible. One of the best games we’ve played in our time together.

“We played good, but unfortunately we could not win.

“We’ll recover, train and prepare for the next game. We don’t have regrets, that’s the most important thing.

“The way we arrive, create chances and put Tottenham deeper when they wanted to press.

“Unfortunately, when they cross the line they score and then a set piece. Nothing else.

“We play Tottenham, one of the best teams in Europe.”

Moment of the match

As the first half drew to a close, Bernardo picked up the ball on the right flank with three Spurs players surrounding him.

He back heeled it, jinked and toyed with all three before his pass was knocked into the air and then won the aerial challenge with Danny Rose – though the referee thought differently.

It summed up our Portuguese star’s work ethic in just a few seconds.

Press pass

It’s hard to imagine City improving one of the most effective presses in world football, but against Spurs, it seemed to have gone up another level.

Hunting Tottenham in packs, the Blues must be a nightmare to play against because if you receive the ball in your own half, invariably there will be one, two or maybe three City players snapping away at your heels.

It is effort and application of the very highest order.

                        PRESSURE : Oleksandr Zinchenko drives forward_
PRESSURE : Oleksandr Zinchenko drives forward_

What it means…

City have four points from the opening two games but the winning sequence of 15 games has ended in dramatic fashion.

Up next

City are next in action a week on Sunday, with a trip to the south coast to play Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium, kick-off 2pm.


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