MANCHESTER CITY 1, EVERTON 1
City are closing in on two years unbeaten at home since Monday December 20th 2010 when Everton came and won 2-1. This time the Toffees battled their way to a hard won point despite conceding the equaliser from a penalty at the end of the first half.
Everton earned their point at the Etihad with a disciplined display in which they took the lead in the 33rd minute through Marouane Fellaini who reacted first to a rebound off Joe Hart after his first effort from Leighton Baines’ cross was parried by the City ‘keeper.
Everton were pegged back to level terms just before the break when City were awarded a controversial penalty which Carlos Tevez, who had come close with two first half chances, converted straight down the middle of Tim Howard’s goal after the American had dived to his left.
City had control for much of the second half but they were limited to half chances with Tevez having a shot charged down and having a Silva through ball cleared as he prepared to shoot, Maicon forcing Howard to make a save and Edin Dzeko heading a Nasri cross into the ground.
The Toffees retained their goal threat, however, and could have snatched a win in added time after Nikica Jelavic’s free kick was turned around the post by Hart.
Everton manager David Moyes was proud of his team’s display but was fuming at the penalty. Replays of the incident showed a possible shirt tug on Dzeko by Marouane Fellaini but Leon Osman jumped for the ball alone but did not get near near any City player or the ball.
“The information we got was that it was a foul by Osman and it clearly wasn’t.” stated Moyes. “The Fourth Official told us immediately after the referee had given the decision.”
“The players told me that Ossie never touched him. Even if it was Fellaini, it was never a penalty kick!” added Moyes.
Roberto Mancini backed Moyes’ frustration at referees but insisted it was indeed a penalty.
“I am not happy with some decisions by referees either but I think it was a penalty. I can think of five or six other decisions that I didn’t like.” said Mancini.
“Against Everton it’s always a difficult game, they work hard and defend very well. It can be hard to find a good solution.” he continued. “We controlled the second half and probably deserved another goal.
Mancini defended his decisions during the second half, particularly the substitution of Carlos Tevez instead of Edin Dzeko which seemed to draw ire from a section of the City supporters. While good chances were few for City’s front men Dzeko had another anonymous performance up front despite testing Tim Howard with a low volley late in the first half he blotted his copy book with poor control culminating in a header from Samir Nasri’s cross being directed straight into the ground and away.
“I have my reasons for taking Carlos off – I am not stupid!” said Mancini.
“It’s not because Carlos played worse than Dzeko. Dzeko played well but we need more goals from our strikers. This can happen with strikers during the season so it’s important they work hard like they worked today and we can solve this problem.”
“I needed tall players to help the defenders at set pieces.”
“In a game like this if you don’t pay attention you can lose. In the end we are not happy with a point but the season is long.”
Both Manchester clubs are now at least seven points clear of the chasing pack after Chelsea and West Brom’s defeats today.