STOKE CITY 1, MAN CITY 1
It wasn’t so much the hand of God, but the arm of Peter Crouch which cost Manchester City two Barclays Premier League points as they were held at Stoke City.
City manager Roberto Mancini had every right to be aggrieved describing it as basketball rather than football.
And even Potters’ manager Tony Pulis admitted his lanky striker handled the ball as City drew 1-1 at the Britannia Stadium for the fourth successive year.
Mancini said: “If you want to start by talking about the first goal, we should talk about NBA basketball, not football.
“I didn’t see it from the bench, but I saw my players talk with the referee and it was clear.”
Pulis, meanwhile, admitted his side had enjoyed a lucky break adding it was “lovely” for a club like Stoke to get a dubious decision against a big club.|
“Looking at the main incidents, we had the run of the ball,” he conceded.
Crouch put Stoke ahead in the 15th minute producing a deft turn to wriggle clear of the City defence, but he only regained control with the most blatant handball before firing home.
City equalised 10 minutes before half time when debutant Javi Garcia headed home a free kick from Carlos Tevez.
Garcia was one of three City debutants as he was joined by Scott Sinclair and Brazilian Maicon in a new-look side assembled before the transfer window shut.
City were left to reflected on two lost points as was also the case in their previous away game when they were held at Liverpool.
In the second half at the Britannia Stadium they did everything but find the net.
Yaya Toure was put through on goal only to be thwarted by keeper Asmir Begovic who spread himself superbly as he raced from his line.
Garcia, a recent £15.8million capture from Benfica, was then denied a second goal by Begovic whi incredibly managed to push his goalbound header on to the upright.
And when Begovic was beaten in stoppage time, Potters’ defender Ryan Shawcross came to the rescue with a spectacular goalline clearancer to hook Edin Dzeko’s lob to safety.