Newcastle United 3, Manchester City 3
Manchester City had to dig deep to earn a battling point at Newcastle United after conceding three goals at St James’ Park.Embed from Getty Images
After taking an early lead through Ilkay Gundogan they went 3-1 down after bring stunned by Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, and Kieron Trippier – all goals created thanks to a superb performance by Allan Saint-Maximin – before a double salvo by Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva levelled things up again.
The drama wasn’t over as Trippier escaped a red card thanks to a VAR check and City’s hosts were indebted to a string of saves by Nick Pope to deny the Champions the win.
Even so, City became only the fourth side to avoid defeat for three consecutive Premier League matches after being two or more goals down.
The draw was the first time that Eddie Howe had avoided defeat against a Pep Guardiola side but Almiron in particular will have relished his goal after he was subject to a taunt from Jack Grealish to Riyad Mahrez in which Grealish jokingly compared Mahrez to the Paraguayan at the end of last season.
In any event, City were without Grealish who took a knock after the win over Bournemouth last week. They started the game with Bernardo Silva on the right wing (instead of Mahrez) while John Stones replaced Ruben Dias.
The first half at St James’ Park was all action – with more shots om target than any other Premier League game so far this season and the game as a whole simmered with challenges and bookings on both sides.
And although City could have scored a hatful in the first half it was Newcastle who were rewarded for taking a full part in the game as they exploited City’s lack of defensive cover on the flanks and pressed City into mistakes.
City went into the lead after just 5 minutes when Ilkay Gundogan started an attack with a sweeping ball to the right where he found Bernardo Silva.
Silva returned the favour after the German continued into the box and, despite a heavy first touch, the German controlled the ball and fired it home from 7 yards.
Erling Haaland had once again attracted all the attention towards him to leave Gundogan space to run into and he might also have had another assist when he released Kevin De Bruyne for a run and shot which went straight to Nick Pope in the Newcastle goal.
And he might have had a tap in had Phil Foden opted to square the ball rather than take the shot himself when he found himself with the Norwegian to the right.
Allan Saint-Maximin was an early outlet for Newcastle and he created a great chance for an equaliser after pulling the ball back for Miguel Almiron but the Paraguayan blazed over from 10 yards.
City were forced into an early change when Nathan Ake signalled that he could not continue and was replaced by Ruben Dias after 21 minutes.
Giuardiola later confirmed that Ake had suffered a groin injury which would prevent him from travelling to Barcelona for the forthcoming friendly.
Ederson saved from Saint-Maximin before Almiron bundled the ball home off his thigh in the 28th minute from a left wing cross by Saint-Maximin with Kyle Walker playing everyone on-side – a fact confirmed by VAR after the goal was initially ruled offside.
And Callum Wilson turned the scoreline on its head after rounding Dias to score once Saint-Maximin had put him through in the 39th minute – Ederson, who had already come off his line once with Newcastle attacking fluently – could only get a despairing hand to it but couldn’t keep the ball out.
Haaland’s shot was touched against the post by Pope early in the second half as the game continued to be thunderous and end to end.
Kieron Trippier’s free kick went into the top corner after 54 minutes after Saint-Maximin was fouled 25 yards out by John Stones and Ederson took a step to his left before Trippier fired in the free kick beyond his reach to the right.
City needed an epic comeback but the Magpies were in no mood to capitulate as Dias’ header was saved before Haaland struck after an hour from the next corner thrashing home Rodri’s cutback following De Bruyne’s looping ball into the box – it was his third goal in as many games for City.
Haaland was looking for the equaliser after going clean through thanks to De Bruyne minutes later but Pope came off his line and made the save before the Norwegian could lift it over him.
Frustration was short lived though as a cheeky De Bruyne pass instead found Bernardo Silva who broke the offside trap and clipped the ball past Pope from 10 yards out.
City had gone from 3-1 down to level again in 3 minutes and 34 seconds.
The drama continued as Pope west down and needed treatment after 65 minutes.
Gundogan was flagged offside after his shot was saved by Pope as City tried to retake the lead.
The game was already physical with bookings for both sides before Trippier was given a straight red card for a reckless swipe at De Bruyne as he ran past him.
Referee Jarred Gillett was sent to the monitor and after reviewing his decision rescinded the red card and downgraded it to a yellow but the game kept simmering into the final few minutes.
Gundogan was denied a late penalty after a well timed run out of his goal to intercept a through ball from Pope who earned his corn this weekend with yet another superb save.