Manchester City held by Stoke 1-1
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 8:47a.m.
Stoke withstood late pressure to hold Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in the Premier League, with Asmir Begovic making a late save and Ryan Shawcross clearing off the line to make sure the defending champion dropped points for the second time this season.
Peter Crouch gave Stoke the lead when he beat Joe Hart in the 15th minute, but Javi Garcia scored on his debut for City by heading in a cross from Carlos Tevez to level the match in the 35th.
Garcia then almost scored a last-minute winner but Begovic pushed his header from a corner onto the post and Shawcross chased back after Edin Dzeko lobbed the goalkeeper in injury time.
Stoke brought on former England striker Michael Owen for his debut in the last minute but it was too late for him to make an impression.
Garcia was one of three debutants in the visitors' side along with Maicon and Scott Sinclair, while Steven Nzonzi made his first appearance for Stoke and Charlie Adam his first start.
Stoke went ahead in contentious circumstances when Crouch, with his back to goal, benefited from a touch with the hand as he controlled a cross from Jon Walters and turned Joleon Lescott.
He then enjoyed another slice of luck as the ball took a ricochet off Garcia but he still showed nimble footwork to tuck the ball away.
City looked for a response and Tevez played in Mario Balotelli with a superb throughball. Balotelli, cleared to play after successful eye surgery during the international break, wrong-footed the defence with a smart turn but clipped a well-struck left-foot effort over the bar.
City's equalizer came from a free kick, as Garcia was allowed a free header when he ran in to make firm contact with Tevez's curling cross. The closest Stoke player to him, Adam, appeared to have been impeded by his own teammate Marc Wilson.
The visitors almost went ahead moments later as Maicon forced Begovic to tip around the post with a powerful low volley.
Owen received a huge ovation when he warmed up but manager Tony Pulis resisted the temptation to use him until the last minute.
City pressed for a late winner and Samir Nasri turned in the area and went down under pressure but no penalty was given. The Frenchman then stung the palms of Begovic with an 18-yard effort moments later.
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