PREM: Manchester City 0-0 Stoke City


Stoke frustrated Manchester City

Manchester City missed the chance to move second in the Premier League as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke City on Wednesday evening.


Pep Guardiola's side were looking to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to eight points but remain in third place, behind Tottenham on goal difference, after a game of few clear opportunities at the Etihad Stadium.

Substitutes David Silva and Kelechi Iheanacho missed good chances in the final 20 minutes but Stoke, who remain ninth on 36 points, deserved a point for a determined away display.

Manchester City - without the rested Raheem Sterling - lacked urgency in a first half which actually saw the away side produce the best chances.

Stoke were 4-0 down to Tottenham at half-time in their last away game, but would have deservedly led at the Etihad Stadium had Willy Caballero not been alert to deny Mame Biram Diouf's scuffed shot from Erik Pieters' sixth-minute cross or if Bruno Martins Indi had connected more cleanly with Jonathan Walters' free-kick.

Saido Berahino, who lasted 79 minutes on his first start for Stoke following his January move from West Brom, had the first chance of the second half, collecting the ball from Walters' header before his effort was blocked by Nicolas Otamendi.

Sergio Aguero made his first meaningful contribution 10 minutes after the break when his shot from the edge of the penalty area was headed over by Pieters before Guardiola threw on Silva for Jesus Navas as he sought inspiration in the final 35 minutes. It had an impact as the Spaniard started a move which saw Kevin De Bruyne's cross turned over the bar by Leroy Sane and another which resulted in Yaya Toure blasting wastefully over from the edge of the area.

The home side went close on 70 minutes when De Bruyne fizzed in a low cross to the near post and Aguero nudged it across the goal and wide, under pressure from Ryan Shawcross. And they went even closer a minute later when Silva played a neat one-two with Fernandinho just inside the area and drilled a left-footed shot just wide of Lee Grant's left upright.

Silva's corner was headed onto the roof of the net by Otamendi and Aguero shot into the side-netting, before substitute Iheanacho volleyed a glorious chance wide of the post in injury time. Sane failed to get onto the end of another De Bruyne added-time cross as Manchester City were forced to settle for a frustrating point and another blow to their slim Premier League title hopes.

They will now turn their attentions to the FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough on Saturday, while Stoke have 10 days off to recover before they host Chelsea in the Premier League.


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