Football: Manchester City, Manchester United held by relegation-threatened sides

Gabriel Jesus heading home Manchester City's equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough. City may see this as two points dropped rather than one gained after failing to capitalise on their neighbours Manchester United failing to beat Swansea i
Gabriel Jesus heading home Manchester City's equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough. City may see this as two points dropped rather than one gained after failing to capitalise on their neighbours Manchester United failing to beat Swansea in an earlier kick-off.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester City failed to put more distance between themselves and neighbours Manchester United yesterday, managing just a 2-2 draw at struggling Middlesbrough in the Premier League after Jose Mourinho's men slipped up at Old Trafford.

United's top-four hopes suffered a blow when relegation-threatened Swansea held them to a 1-1 draw.

The result left United in fifth place behind their neighbours, who missed the chance to leapfrog third-placed Liverpool hours later. City remain in the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Pep Guardiola's men at least came from behind - twice - to get their point, although they failed to make more of their 22 shots at goal.

Former City striker Alvaro Negredo put 19th-placed Boro ahead in the first half with a shot that went in off the inside of the post.

Sergio Aguero equalised in the 69th minute with a penalty hotly disputed by the hosts after Marten de Roon was ruled to have brought down substitute Leroy Sane.

Eight minutes later, Boro went ahead again when Calum Chambers shot high into the net in a goalmouth melee. But Gabriel Jesus, in his first start since returning from an injury layoff, had the last word with a fine header from Aguero's cross five minutes from time.

"We controlled the game and missed so many chances," said the Brazilian striker. "We all know how difficult it is in the Premier League. Every team can beat you if you are not focused. Today's result is disappointing but at least we have a point."

City are on 66 points - one more than United - with both teams left with four league games.

United, however, have to deal with more than dropped points. The team's injury woes continued to mount with defenders Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly both taken off during the game.

"We lost players and we lost points, so yes today was a bad day," said Mourinho.

"We are tired and exhausted. You cannot isolate the performance out of the context. This is the ninth match of April, it is not human. We have a squad of 22 that is reduced to 13 or 14 players.

"At the moment, we can walk from the bed to the toilet and break a leg."

For Swansea, the point could prove to be precious as they bid to get out of the bottom three - they are now two points behind 17th-placed Hull with three games remaining for both clubs.

A sublime free kick by Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelled out Wayne Rooney's contentious first-half penalty after Marcus Rashford made the most out of minimal contact with Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'City and United held to draws by relegation-threatened sides'. Print Edition | Subscribe