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Premier League

  • September 15, 2012
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 27101
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Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City: Javi Garcia nets debut goal but Crouch frustrates Premier League champions again

Champions come from a goal behind to secure a point as their new Spanish signing cancels out Crouch's first-half opener.

Manchester City was unable to give manager Roberto Mancini something to celebrate on his 1000th day in charge of the club as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke.

The champions were in complete control of the game for the opening 15 minutes but it was Stoke which opened the scoring through Peter Crouch, the striker scoring a fairly scruffy goal from five yards out after breaking through three challenges.

The visitors were level after a neat set piece beautifully delivered by Carlos Tevez for Javi Garcia to mark his debut with a goal. Chances followed for both sides but neither were able to convert and the points were shared for a fourth successive fixture at the Britannia Stadium.

Michael Owen was forced to wait for his Stoke City debut as he was named on the subs bench, Tony Pulis opting for a solid 4-5-1 formation to try and contain the Champions. There were starts for Steven N’Zonzi and Charlie Adam following their moves to the Britannia Stadium in the summer.

City handed first starts to new signings Scott Sinclair, Maicon and Javi Garcia with Mario Balotelli returning following injury. Jack Rodwell and Gareth Barry both returned to the City squad, with Edin Dzeko also named on the bench despite scoring four goals while on international duty with Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The visitors dominated the opening part of the game with some excellent interplay in midfield between Yaya Toure and Garcia, the Spaniard looking like he’d been playing for the club for years rather than actually making his debut.

However it was the hosts who took the lead after quarter of an hour through Crouch, the striker showing great persistence to break through three challenges to open the scoring. The tall striker controlled the ball on his chest inside the penalty area, spun past Vincent Kompany, ran through the challenges of Joleon Lescott and Garcia before calmly slotting the ball past Joe Hart from five yards.

The visitors were shaken by Crouch’s opener but they soon settled back into their passing style and with 10 minutes of the half to go they were level through Garcia. The Spaniard showed excellent movement inside the penalty area to get in front of Glenn Whelan and head home Carlos Tevez’s free kick, giving Asmir Begovic no chance.

The home side managed to get to the break without conceding again but the halftime team talk from Pulis inspired his side and it came out for the second half full of energy. The control that Manchester City had on the game for the majority of the first half was gone as the Stoke players closed every ball down and applied excellent pressure all over the pitch.

Mancini was clearly concerned about the change in the game’s momentum and moved to get a grip back on the game by introducing Gareth Barry for Tevez. The midfielder definitely gave City more solidity in the middle of the pitch and slowly it began to get back into the game.

The moment a lot of Stoke fans had been waiting for arrived in the final moments of the match as Owen was introduced in place of Crouch to a standing ovation from the crowd, but the striker had no chance to give the fans the goal they wanted.

The visitors should have won the game in injury time but were denied twice by last ditch clearances, the first a save from Begovic from a Garcia header and the second a acrobatic clearance by Shawcross off the line.

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