FULHAM 2, MAN CITY 2
Manchester City suffered an unexpected slip on a banana skin as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Fulham, the bottom club in the Barclays Premier League.
Manager Roberto Mancini was left baffled and bemused as his side carelessly surrendered a two-goal lead and their first points of the campaign.
After winning their first four league games, including a 5-1 triumph at Tottenham on their last capital day out, City were in confident mood as they arrived at Craven Cottage….perhaps too much so.
It was to prove a salutary lesson for Mancini’s men on the afternoon their neighbours established a two-point lead at the top of the table.
A shell-shocked Mancini said: “We dominated the game for 60 minutes and I cannot believe we have drawn the game.
“I hope this will be a lesson for us because we had chances to have scored more goals and we need to win these games. If we lose points, it makes things difficult for us.”
This was incredibly Fulham’s 14 game of the season and, while they have prospered in the Europa League, they have toiled domestically collecting two points from a possible 12.
City, however, had won all four league matches before their capital day out and must have been expecting to make it five wins in a row.
And when Sergio Aguero fired them ahead after 18 minutes following great work by Gareth Barry and David Silva they were on schedule for another away-day success.
Gael Clichy and Edin Dzeko were both denied by smart saves from Mark Schwarzer as Fulham were lucky to be only one goal down at the break.
City doubled their advantage 12 seconds after the restart when Dzeko headed Clichy’s long ball into the path of Aguero who swept home his eighth league goal of the season from the edge of the penalty area.
Fulham were handed a lifeline in the 55th minute when Clint Dempsey set up Bobby Zamora who was given too much freedom as he curled in a delightful goal.
Suddenly the balance of power tilted the way of Fulham as City keeper Joe Hart had to make excellent saves to deny Mousa Dembele and Dempsey.
City did not heed the warning and with 15 minutes to go Danny Murphy equalised with a shot which only beat Hart because of a wicked deflection off Vincent Kompany.
It completed a remarkable turnout which scarcely looked possible as Fulham had appeared down and out early in the second period. It again proved it is never over until the fat lady sings.