The Premier League champions came from a goal behind to secure a point as the former Benfica midfielder cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener in the first halfManchester City were unable to give manager Roberto Mancini a happy anniversary on his 1000th day in charge of the club as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City.
The reigning champions were in complete control for the opening 15 minutes but it was Stoke who opened the scoring through Peter Crouch, as the striker found himself in the right place at the right time five yards out after breaking through three challenges.
The visitors were level 20 minutes level from a neat set-piece beautifully delivered by Carlos Tevez for Javi Garcia to mark his debut with a goal.
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Michael Owen was forced to wait for his Stoke City debut as he was named on the substitutes’ bench as Tony Pulis opting for a solid 4-5-1 formation to try and contain City. There were starts for Steven Nzonzi 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 had been playing for the club for some time rather than 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 evade three challenges and 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 Tevez’s free-kick, giving Asmir Begovic no chance.
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The home side managed to get to the break without conceding again but the half-time team talk from Pulis inspired his charges and they 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, and the midfielder definitely gave City more solidity in the middle of the pitch and slowly they 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 an acrobatic clearance by Shawcross off the line.