Two minutes to the end of the encounter between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, there were solid shouts for a penalty after Kurt Zouma looked to have fouled Raheem Sterling.
But Anthony Taylor waved play on and after extensive VAR checks, the referee’s decision was upheld and then two minutes into extra time, Marcos Alonso’s scuffed looped over Ederson to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over the champions in waiting.
It was supposed to be a dress rehearsal but Pep Guardiola will be fuming with his players and with the match officials as Chelsea stayed in the game and stole all three points late on with a goal from Alonso two minutes into added time. With the win, Chelsea leapfrogged Leicester City to third in the table.
Thomas Tuchel has now led his team to 13 away matches without a loss since he resumed in January and again it was a game of two halves. Both games started cautiously having made changes to the team that played in the Champions League mid-week matches.
A first half that held little action burst into life in the 44t minute when Rodri lobbed a pass towards Gabriel Jesus and a mistake from Andreas Christensen allowed the Brazilian to square for Sergio Aguero, who took a bad touch, which allowed Sterling to sweep home the first goal of the encounter.
With Chelsea down to 10 men, City were gifted a penalty when Billy Gilmore clumsily clipped Jesus and the penalty was awarded. It appeared flimsy but Aguero then fluffed the opportunity with a ‘Panenka’ which went straight to Edouard Mendy.
The second half was very different as Chelsea made more offensive thrusts as Tuchel said they ‘had more control’ and improved in the physical battles on the pitch.
Zouma replaced the injured Christensen. Hakim Ziyech had a shot saved in the 52nd minute as Reece James grew in confidence in his movement towards the City box.
In the 63rd minute, Rodri had the ball pinched off his toes which gave Chelsea four against four, which created a shooting chance for Ziyech on the edge of the box. Ziyech’s shot somehow eludes Ederson to give Chelsea a deserved equaliser.
Jorginho came on for N’Golo Kante as Guardiola sent on Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden for Aguero and Ferran Torres.
Timo Werner was inches from getting his toe on a delicious delivery from James as Chelsea pushed for the win. Callum Hudson-Odoi came on for Ziyech in the 76th minute. Werner was then a few inches away from getting his head on another cross from James.
Werner scored but he was miles offside as Guardiola sent on Oleksandr Zinchenko as Chelsea scored again from another attack down their right but Hudson-Odoi was inches offside.
And then the controversy in the 88th minute when Zouma misjudged a lofted ball and seemed to have impeded Sterling in the box but Taylor waved play on and four minutes later, Alonso gets the winner to ensure that City’s champagne stays on ice for another day.
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