Sunday, 14 Apr, 2024

Sports

Rodri rescues point for Man City against Chelsea

Sports Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2024-02-18 12:36:58
Rodri rescues point for Man City against Chelsea photo collected

Rodri dramatically rescued a point with a late leveller for Manchester City to deny Chelsea victory and maintain his side's long unbeaten home record.

City still lost ground in the title race after seeing Liverpool and Arsenal both post emphatic wins earlier on Saturday, but this has to go down as a point gained given how close they came to defeat.

Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea the lead against his old team just before half-time, finishing off a brilliant counter-attack by meeting Nicolas Jackson's cross, cutting inside Kyle Walker and curling his shot home.

The visitors looked threatening on the break all game, with Jackson earlier spurning an even better chance from Malo Gusto's cross when a heavy touch allowed Ederson to smother his shot, and City's keeper also denied Sterling a second from point-blank range.

City were racking up the chances too, but seemed unable to take any of them, or even seriously test Chelsea goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic despite piling on the pressure in the second half.

Erling Haaland was the main culprit, with his worst miss coming when he somehow headed wide from a delicious Kevin de Bruyne cross.

The defending champions were facing their first home league defeat since November 2022, until Rodri struck with seven minutes to go.

After Walker's shot was deflected into his path on the edge of the box, Rodri fired in a ferocious first-time strike that was going in anyway but took a touch off Chelsea substitute Trevoh Chalobah on its way into the net.

The draw sees City drop to third in the table, four points behind leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand - they can close the gap, and leapfrog second-placed Arsenal, if they beat Brentford here on Tuesday.

Chelsea, who were minutes away from a third successive away win, stay 10th, but head to Wembley for next weekend's Carabao Cup final on the back of one of their best displays of an erratic campaign.

This game did not have the goals or indeed the chaos of the 4-4 draw that these sides fought out in November, but Chelsea's resistance, and threat on the break, made for another enthralling encounter.

Just as at Stamford Bridge, it was mostly played in appalling weather - and Mauricio Pochettino's side were again good value for their point in the pouring rain.

City had most of the ball from the start, but Chelsea's plan to spring forward when they won it back worked on several occasions even before they broke the deadlock.

Sterling, who won four Premier League titles in his seven years at the Etihad, was often criticised for his finishing during his time with City, but he showed great composure to beat Walker and made no mistake when he fired past Ederson too.

The England forward was unlucky not to make it 2-0 after the break, when he met Gusto's cross from the right, but this time Ederson reacted brilliantly to keep the ball out.

Chelsea were far less of a threat in the closing stages but defensive organisation and sheer will looked like it would carry them home for the three points, before City's determination and desperation eventually told.

City struggle to convert their chances
Pep Guardiola's side were caught cold defensively too often in the first half, but after the break they assumed more control and poured forward in search of an equaliser.

City had 31 attempts at scoring but, until Rodri's late strike, it appeared this would be a day where even a single goal would elude them.

Haaland, in particular, will wonder how he failed to score. Three of his nine efforts were from clear sights of goal but he squandered an early header from Julian Alvarez's cross, then miscued when Phil Foden set him up and missed the target from De Bruyne's pinpoint delivery.

Some big decisions went against the home side too, with Kyle Walker certain he deserved a penalty after tangling with Sterling in the box, and a Levi Colwill handball going unpunished in stoppage time.

The video assistant referee ruled in Chelsea's favour on both occasions, to the obvious frustration of Guardiola, but it must be some consolation that his side still picked up a point.

Source: BBC

BSDT: 1235 HRS, FEB 18, 2024
SMS

All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.