Football: Guardiola rues misfiring Man City draw in title race blow

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is shown a yellow card by referee Graham Scott. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON – Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City had only themselves to blame for failing to kill off Nottingham Forest in a 1-1 draw that dented their bid to retain the English Premier League title.

Arsenal’s 4-2 win at Aston Villa earlier on Saturday had moved them back to the top of the table at City’s expense.

But Guardiola’s side were on course to regain pole position after Bernardo Silva’s 41st-minute strike from the edge of the area opened the scoring at the City Ground.

However, Erling Haaland missed two sitters and Kevin de Bruyne also wasted a good chance before Chris Wood’s tap-in for his first Forest goal in the 84th minute rocked the champions.

The result left second-placed City two points behind Arsenal, who have a game in hand to extend their title race lead after bouncing back from their midweek 3-1 loss to Guardiola’s men.

Defender Kyle Walker told the BBC: “First and foremost, we go to the Emirates and play the game we did and then come here, it’s unacceptable.

“If we want to compete with teams near the top, we need to win. We missed a few chances and we need to do better as a team.”

Guardiola conceded City were the victims of their own downfall after such sloppy finishing.

“It was a brilliant performance, we played really good but we didn’t score. At this level, you have to score and that is why we dropped points,” he said.

“The first half should already be 2-0 or 3-0. We conceded one shot on target and we dropped points. We are disappointed, but the way we played was really good.

“We missed goals that were one metre to the goalkeeper, not just one, a few. That is why we didn’t win. What can I say?”

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland missed two chances against Forest. PHOTO: REUTERS

Guardiola showed the tension is mounting in the title fight when he was booked in the second half.

The 52-year-old Spaniard confronted the fourth official in a furious reaction to referee Graham Scott’s decision not to award a foul after Haaland went down under a challenge from Joe Worrall when clean through on goal.

“We don’t make any excuses. I could say many things that have happened this season,” Guardiola said.

“I am not a guy who is here to talk about things we cannot control.

“I don’t know, it looks like the last man (Haaland) went to the ’keeper and fell down. Why would you fall down when you are one against one to the ’keeper?

“I was complaining to the fourth official, why would Haaland stop when he was one-on-one to score a goal and after that I got a well-deserved yellow card.”

His opposite number, Steve Cooper, said: “City are the best team in the world. They are fascinating to watch and study. There was no shame City had the ball as much as they did.

“We rode a bit of luck, but we earned a bit of luck with the goal we scored. That was the plan.”

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