A landmark Sergio Aguero goal was not enough for Manchester City as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Tuesday night, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side suffering a real blow in their quest to secure Champions League football next season.
Aguero became the second-fastest player to score 100 Premier League goals early on in the game, with his ton in 147 appearances putting him behind only Alan Shearer.
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His goal was certainly a little controversial, with the Argentine standing in an offside position for quite a while before the set piece was taken. He wasn’t just a little offside either, so how the linesman missed it was a mystery.
Aguero was obviously the most likely goalscorer for City, but Newcastle’s equaliser came from an incredibly unlikely source.
The Citizens’ lead was extinguished before half time through Vurnon Anita, with the Dutch midfielder getting his first goal for the club in emphatic fashion. Some sloppy City defending allowed him to cut inside and get into a dangerous position, before the makeshift right-back curled a great shot into the far corner.
City inevitably had a few half-chances to get a winner, with Aguero disappointed he wasn’t awarded what he felt was a clear penalty. There was definitely contact from Chancel Mbemba, but it would have been a pretty harsh spot kick had the referee given it.
Although City dominated the ball for most of the game, the final period of the match really belonged to Newcastle. The Magpies were countering with real pace through Andros Townsend and second-half substitute Gini Wijnaldum, with the latter kept out only by a fantastic save from Joe Hart.
The England keeper stayed big and remained on his feet as Wijnaldum bore down on goal, and the Dutchman’s sweetly-struck shot smacked off Hart’s arm and back into play. Wijnaldum got a second bite of the cherry, but was only able to put it into the side netting.
These dropped points really put the title out of reach – if it wasn’t already – and actually put some pressure on City as far as the top four is concerned.
Arsenal are now a point behind with a game in hand, while Manchester United are five points adrift – also with a game in hand. The fact that City still have to play Arsenal this season could be massive, and could go a long way towards deciding who gets that third spot.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are now just two points behind 17th-placed Norwich as they continue to battle relegation.