City were denied an injury time winner against Spurs as VAR fortune again favoured the London side who instead claimed a 2-2 draw. The Blues dominated large periods of the game and were twice ahead through Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero goals, only to be pegged back each time by a Tottenham side who clung on by their fingernails at times. And if they tell you lightning doesn't strike twice, don't believe them as VAR once again robbed City of a last-gasp winner when Gabriel Jesus' goal was chalked off for reasons that were anything but clear the time. The only disappointment for the Blues was that from the 30 shots at goal, only two resulted in goals after a performance that deserved far more than a solitary point.
What happened With the Etihad Stadium bathed in late afternoon sunshine, the champions started their home Premier League campaign against last season’s beaten Champions League finalists. City started with typical energy and verve, pinning Spurs back and forcing errors with the high press and were unlucky not go ahead on seven minutes after a glorious move – started by Ederson and continued by Bernardo and Kyle Walker – ended with Raheem Sterling’s shot from close range deflected over. The Blues felt aggrieved on 12 minutes when Rodrigo appeared to be wrestled to the floor as a corner came in, but VAR decided there was nothing doing – TV replays suggested City might have had a case. It was total domination at that stage and on 20 minutes, the Blues were rewarded when Kevin De Bruyne’s cross found the head of Sterling who put the ball past Hugo Lloris from a difficult angle. But the lead would last just three minutes as Tottenham made a rare venture out of their half to score with their first shot on target, a low shot from 20 yards past an unsighted Ederson from Erik Lamela. Whether it was deserved or not is immaterial – but it did feel like a cheap goal to concede. City resumed full throttle football and deservedly were ahead again on 34 minutes and once again it was the brilliance of De Bruyne who created the goal, fizzing in a low drive for Aguero to sweep past Lloris from close range. Ilkay Gundogan should have scored a few minutes before the break after De Bruyne – again – picked the German out with a low cross but he struck his shot inches wide. Spurs’ goal continued to live a charmed life as Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aguero, Bernardo and De Bruyne all went close just after the restart as the Blues resumed near total control. And yet, despite the being outplayed for long periods, Tottenham were level before the hour as Lucas Moura headed home from a corner just seconds after replacing Harry Winks. Like a relentless machine, City began again. As the game looked to be heading towards a draw, Gabriel Jesus collected the ball from a corner, beat his man and hammered a low shot into the bottom corner for what seemed like the winning goal. The celebrations lasted well over a minute before VAR - not used throughout - again denied City a dramatic last gasp goal against Tottenham.
Statzone Aguero’s goal was his first in eight matches against Spurs and his 11th in 15 games against them. Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne For so much of last season we missed the Belgian’s brilliance and at times, it looks as though he’s trying to make up for lost time, packing so much quality and endeavour int each performance. Along with Bernardo and Rodri, he was outstanding against Tottenham. Moment of the match As the first half drew to a close, Bernardo picked up the ball on the right flank with three Spurs players surrounding him. He back heeled it, jinked and toyed with all three before his pass was knocked into the air and then won the aerial challenge with Danny Rose – though the referee thought differently. It summed up our Portuguese star’s work ethic in just a few seconds.
Press pass It’s hard to imagine City improving one of the most effective presses in world football, but against Spurs, it seemed to have gone up another level. Hunting Tottenham in packs, the Blues must be a nightmare to play against because if you receive the ball in your own half, invariably there will be one, two or maybe three City players snapping away at your heels. It is effort and application of the very highest order.
What it means… City have four points from the opening two games but the winning sequence of 15 games has ended in dramatic fashion.
Up next City are next in action a week on Sunday, with a trip to the south coast to play Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium, kick-off 2pm.
MATCH DETAILS: Manchester City (2): Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri (David Silva, 77’), Gündogan, De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva (Mahrez, 80’), Sterling, Agüero (Gabriel Jesus, 65’) Tottenham (2)Lloris; Walker-Peters, Davinson Sánchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Winks (Moura, 55’), Sissoko, Ndombele; Lamela (Lo Celso, 85’), Eriksen (Skipp, 90’), Kane Goals: 1-0, Sterling (20’), 1-1, Lamela (23’), 2-1, Agüero (34’), 2-2, Moura (56’), 3-2, Gabriel Jesus (90’) Referee: Michael Oliver. Booking: Sterling (25’)