Blues held at St Mary's by impressive Southampton
FA Premier League
Saturday 7 December 2013, 15.00 KO
City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure (Dzeko 79), Milner (Garcia 62), Nasri, Aguero, Negredo (Navas 62)
Unused: Hart, Lescott, Clichy, Richards
Goals: Aguero (10)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the Match: Fernandinho
Having added their second away win of the season in mid-week, the Blues were looking to build on their recent run of good form and continue that on the south coast. And it was the perfect start for the visitors, who had had a couple of sniffs at goal but nothing concrete, when Aguero put them ahead: A cross from Kolarov was missed by everybody until the Argentine was able to rifle it into the net.
But the visitors just didn’t build on their lead and allowed the hosts back into the match. Lovren rose highest at a corner to nod towards goal, but it was just wide of Pantilimon’s post, before Cork had a pop from range and it needed both hands from the Romanian goalkeeper to keep it out.
However, despite the pressure from the Saints, it should have been City who added the next goal. Zabaleta got to the by-line and pulled it back for the in-form Aguero, but the Argentine skied it – where on Wednesday evening, he netted.
As half time approached, Southampton were well on the front foot and should have levelled. First Chambers rose to head a Shaw cross from the left, but he couldn’t direct his effort on target, before Pantilimon had to be alert to stop from Ward-Prowse from range.
Two minutes before the break, the inevitable happened and the hosts equalised. Osvaldo turned inside Kompany and Zabaleta to set up a shooting opportunity, before bending the ball over and around Pantilimon from the left corner of the penalty area. It looped past the goalkeeper and in off the bar.
Having faded in the first half, the visitors began the second period the better. First Aguero could have given the Blues the lead for the second time, as the ball broke to him to volley. It was a great save from Gazzaniga. Toure then came close to giving the visitors the advantage, but his effort was just wide – with the goalkeeper beaten.
Minutes later, though, Southampton were denied by another good save from Pantilimon. Rodriguez skipped through on goal, having eased past Kompany and Zabaleta, but the Romanian was out at his feet quickly to block. Osvaldo hit the rebound, but he ended up hoofing it over the bar.
It was soon all Southampton again – Osvaldo hit an effort wide that had Pantilimon worried, before Kompany pulled a clearance out of nowhere, getting his toe on the end of a Ward-Prowse cross from a free kick that looked destined to cause City problems.
With full time and the draw looming, both sides seemed to want to throw it away: First, Kompany was lucky to have been left off twisting and turning in his own box, but won a foul as he was dispossessed. Gazzaniga was then nowhere near a ball through as he came off his line, but Dzeko couldn’t capitalise.
It finished all square, though, in truth, City were lucky.