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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 17 June, 2018


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Welcome to the final game of the day, where Manchester City will look to temporarily go top of the table with a win at Stoke City. The Brittania, however, is a very difficult place to go and are likely to make this something of a battle for City. Tevez doesn’t start.

Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Jerome, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Pennant, Upson, Delap, Shotton, Palacios.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Toure, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Barry, Silva, Balotelli, Nasri, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Johnson, Kolarov, Savic, Tevez, De Jong.

Mancini enigmatic on an Aguero absence. “He is injured. I don’t know where but he is injured.”

And we’re off…

City attack from the off, Nasri’s free-kick just evading Edin Dzeko’s head.

This game started as expected. City in control but Stoke abrasively interrupting their passing. That’ll happen.

City looking… flat at the moment. Not much really happening. Lacking spark.

Chance for Stoke! Wilson curls in an inviting ball, Crouch nods it on but Jerome can’t quite adjust his body to direct it towards goal.

Walters finishes poorly after some good build-up play. Stoke arguably the better team at the moment. City really struggling for creativity and width.

Moment of hilarity there as Joe hart asks why the floodlights aren’t on. Someone at SToke seems to have finally turned on the power as they’re starting to warm up.

David Silva is on the ground clutching his face after Whitehead caught him with an elbow as he challenged for the ball. There was clearly no intent on the part of the Stoke player but he did lead with his elbow…

… Silva goes off temporarily with blood coming down his face. Whitehead only gets a talking-to from Howard Webb. No card.

Dzeko heads a half-chance wide. Only five goals in his last 25 games. Not a great return. And one of the reasons why City have lost top spot.

Balotelli goes down theatrically. There’s suddenly a bit of bad blood to this one.

And the aggression escalates with a firm challenge from Yaya Toure. There’ll  likely be bookings in this. And possibly reds.

Dzeko heads over a very good chance. Great ball Clichy. That’s a sign of a striker off form. He should have tested the keeper but put it well over the bar. Poor.

Nasri – who’s been City’s best player by far – drifts in a cross but Toure can only meekly head it at goal. Interesting that, against a side like Stoke, only efforts City have created are in the air.

Finally a good move City as they open Stoke up but Zabaleta’s ball is well intercepted by Huth who then gets up to make another challenge and clear.

Balotelli shows the good in his game with a bit of pace and footwork to break through the Stoke defence but his finish is weak.

And that’s half-time. Stoke arguably the better team but City have had the better chances… if you can call them at. Mancini’s side look jaded and devoid of inspiration.

In Spain, Barcelona have gone 2-0  up against Mallorca. Gap down to three points before Real host Sociedad. Game very much on.

Second half is under way…

… and, straight away, Dzeko is released on goal. He tries to round Begovic but the keeper made himself very big to smother the chance. City do nothing from the resultant corner.

More of the same here. Stoke just holding City off while looking to get something on the break or from a set-piece. Walters almost forces a chance.

GOAL! Stoke City 1-0 Manchester City

That is an absolutely stunning strike from Peter Crouch! And it might well stun City’s season! Without the ball hitting the ground, the striker tees up a header before turning – about 25 yards from goal and slightly to the right – and volleying it into the top corner. Brilliant!

That was sensational.

Mancini looks disgusted on the line as City prepare to throw on Adam Johnson.

And Stoke well on top now too. City have a big job here. Are they up to coming from behind for the second time in the space of a number of days? Goal came at a similar time to the Chelsea one.

The big question: how long until Tevez comes on?

Adam Johnson is causing a bit of difficulty. Received the ball in the Stoke box and drew a few defenders but Shawcross and co managed to shepherd him away.

Tevez warming up…

Zabaleta’s gone down with cramp. Fitting because City don’t look fresh. Really toiling at the moment. Only Nasri really looking to create.

Tevez is on for Barry…

GOAL! Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City

City equalise but, in truth, through luck rather than ingenuity. Toure hit one from about 35 yards and, although well struck, Begovic really should have kept it out. Back in it.

City look a little more energetic after the goal but still struggling to fashion openings.

It’s Stoke doing the attacking at the moment and, having almost forced a chance through Palacios, might have had a penalty. Ball appeared to hit Johnson’s hand in the City box. C Corner given.

And Shawcross heads it just over! This is nervy.

Since Stoke got promoted, all of the eventual champions have won there thanks to late goals in the respective seasons. So they’re something of an acid test. Will that change?

In saying that, it’s Stoke who look the likelier scorers at the moment.

There’ll be five extra minutes of added time. Stoke currently have the ball near the City corner flag.

Palacios curls one just over the bar from distance. Fine effort. Not fine enough though.

Palacios driving Stoke forward. He’s been superb since he came on.

Toure tries another screamer from distance but this isn’t on target. Good hit though.

Two minutes left, corner to Stoke…

… it’s completely wasted, though, as Pennant plays it to Palacios who then tries to play it back but just sends it back out of play.

Anxiety for City! Hart came to collect a cross, missed and then the ball fell for Walters and Jones. Just at that moment, though, Webb whistled for a free out. Fortunate.

FULL-TIME: Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City

City go back to the top but it will feel very hollow. United can go a full three points clear if they beat Fulham on Monday night.