Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Wilfried Zaha played a key role in a dramatic Crystal Palace equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, after two goals in the final eight minutes from Sergio Aguero had appeared to have secured all three points for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Palace winger was sent racing clear by James McCarthy in the 90th minute and his cross was turned into his own goal by Fernandinho, under pressure from Connor Wickham.
Trailing to Cenk Tosun’s first half goal, City struck back through Aguero who took his tally to 179 Premier League and 251 career goals for the club.
Following a delightful floated cross from Gabriel Jesus after 82 minutes, Aguero slid in ahead of his marker to volley left foot into the open net, with his second goal following five minutes later.
This time it was full-back Benjamin Mendy who set up the striker with a perfect left-wing cross which Aguero met with a downward header into the far corner of the Palace goal from 10 yards.
Palace had broken the deadlock with their first meaningful chance of the game. Tosun heading them in front after 38 minutes.
The goal came from a McCarthy corner and underlined the defensive shortcomings that have seen Guardiola’s team keep just two clean sheets in their last 13 games.
The ball floated to the centre of the area where Gary Cahill rose above John Stones, and headed towards the far post where Tosun had been left unmarked by Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan gravitating towards the ball.
Tosun, making his first start since joining Palace on loan from Everton, was left with the simple task of steering a header past Ederson.
– Inability to kill off –
The situation could have worsened considerably for City moments later when Tosun chased a long through ball and easily rounded Ederson who had wandered 30 yards from his goal only for it to be ruled out for a foul on Fernandinho.
Guardiola’s frustrations would have been compounded by the fact his team had enjoyed so much possession and dominated the game without opening the scoring in the first half.
Kevin De Bruyne came closest, from a stunning 25-yard free-kick on 14 minutes, awarded for a trip by James McArthur on Fernandinho.
The Belgian’s execution was fantastic but the ball struck the underside of Vicente Guaita’s cross-bar, bounced onto the goal line and away to safety although the danger was still not over for the visitors.
City kept that attack alive with De Bruyne setting up Aguero for a close-range chance which was well blocked by the Palace keeper.
The Spaniard also made a good save, tipping over a Bernardo strike just before the interval, but a first half shot count of 11-1, in City’s favour, told the story both of the defending champions’ superiority and their inability to kill off the London club.
Guaita opened the second half in similar fashion, blocking well from Bernardo, after an Aguero shot had cannoned into the Portuguese forward’s path, but there was a reminder of the danger posed by Hodgson’s side when Zaha’s chip forward found Tosun and his excellent half-volley needed a fine reflex save from Ederson.
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