Football: Late De Roon goal ruins Manchester City's week

Marten de Roon's powerful header taking Middlesbrough level in stoppage time at the Etihad Stadium. Sergio Aguero had put Manchester City ahead just before half-time with his eighth league goal of the season.
Marten de Roon's powerful header taking Middlesbrough level in stoppage time at the Etihad Stadium. Sergio Aguero had put Manchester City ahead just before half-time with his eighth league goal of the season.PHOTO: REUTERS

Aguero nets 150th goal but Boro steal point with late header as hosts are held for 3rd game

Manchester City 1

Middlesbrough 1

A landmark week for Manchester City ended with both a milestone and a sense of disappointment.

After Pep Guardiola's team recorded their maiden win over Barcelona, Sergio Aguero reached 150 goals in City colours.

So far, so good, but when Marten de Roon delivered a 91st-minute equaliser for Middlesbrough, City dropped two points in unexpected fashion. They lead Arsenal and Liverpool, who both play today, by a point at the top of the standings.

The Dutch midfielder headed in George Friend's deep cross and, strangely, City had drawn 1-1 for a third successive home league game. They have dominated each but paid for an inability to convert chances. The one they did take came from a familiar source.

Aguero now finds himself bracketed with historic figures.

He became just the sixth player to strike 150 times for City, and the first in almost 40 years.

A greater honour beckons. It is not beyond possibility that he will overhaul Eric Brook's club record of 177, set between the two world wars, before the end of the season.

If he does, and given he has scored 31 goals in his last 32 league games, it is probable City will be crowned champions.

This, however, represented a setback to their chances.

Perhaps City's exertions against Barcelona took a toll in an undistinguished second half, after a start that resembled an attack-versus-defence exercise.

City attacked, Boro defended, in great numbers and with considerable determination. Victor Valdes was Guardiola's goalkeeper at Barcelona, but he was rarely that busy then. He excelled in a reunion before, with half-time beckoning, Aguero did what he does best. He scored. Guardiola, who left Aguero on the bench in Barcelona, got a reminder of his merits.

His goal came after a period of almost intolerable pressure as City fashioned a series of opportunities. Valdes made a brilliant save from David Silva and also denied Aleksandar Kolarov and Aguero. Kevin de Bruyne and John Stones both came close.

Then City's two most potent players supplied a breakthrough. De Bruyne delivered the most inviting of crosses, arcing into Aguero's path. The Argentinian responded with a predatory finish.

It was business as usual for him but almost a distinctly unusual occasion for Jesus Navas. The winger, whose last league goal came 1,023 days ago, struck the outside of the post.

Boro fielded Alvaro Negredo, a title-winning striker during his City days, and an otherwise isolated figure almost scored from 50 yards, a back-pedalling Claudio Bravo turning his effort over the bar. It was little wonder he shot. Even in the centre circle, he had little support.

Adam Forshaw also came close and Boro, so muted before the break, mustered a dramatic finale. Having earned a surprise point at the Emirates Stadium, they added another at the Etihad and are in provisional 14th place with 11 points. It is why they look likely to stay up.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 06, 2016, with the headline 'De Roon ruins City's week'. Print Edition | Subscribe