15 September 2012
Stoke City and Manchester City, the latter facing Real Madrid next Tuesday in the Champions League, drew 1-1 in the fourth day of the Premier League in a game which saw the hosts push ahead in the 15th minute with a controversial goal by Crouch. The Spanish player Javi García, who made his debut today as a new City player, settled the score with a clash in the 34th minute.
The Manchester squad, through Tévez, were about to push City ahead in the 5th minute but his shot went slightly off course. However, when Mancini’s players had gained control of the game, Britanna Stadium were surprised to see some confusing action on the pitch when Crouch controversially managed to get Stoke ahead of City through making contact with the ball with his left hand.
City didn’t lose their cool and had almost exclusive possession of the ball, putting pressure on Begovic with long distant shots by Balottelli and Touré Yaya which very nearly equalized the score. The teams drew in the 34th minute when Javi García made his debut goal with a set-up by midfielder Tevéz to bring the scores to 1-1. Despite the 1-1 score at half time, there was still reason for Maicon to return confidently to City’s dressing room.
After half time, the game was less intense and the two teams seemed to accept the score although Manchester City enjoyed a few goal-scoring opportunities with some great kicks from Touré Yayá in the 63rd minute which were saved by Begovic. One minute later Mancini started to make some changes to the team – Tévez and Sinclair went off and Barry and Silva and went in. Both teams continued without significant goal attempts until 2 minutes before the end of the match, when during injury time Javi García finished off with a corner shot header which was luckily pushed to the post by a great save from goalkeeper Begovic. The last scoring opportunity of the match was taken by Dzeko with a delicate curving shot which Shawcross chased back to make a dramatic clearance.