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Middlesbrough v Manchester City Live Commentary, 4/30/17

2 - 2
Álvaro Negredo (38)
C. Chambers (77)
S. Agüero (69 pen)
Gabriel Jesus (85)
Riverside Stadium


It's certainly a case of two points dropped for City as well, as they really need to come away with a victory of their own. The draw means that they remain in fourth place thanks to Manchester United's draw against Swansea City earlier, but it's denied them the opportunity to move ahead of third-place Liverpool.
Under any other circumstances, a point against City would represent a fine result, but Middlesbrough will certainly feel as if they've been robbed of a much-needed win. They looked set to head away with all three points thanks to what seemed to be a late winner scored by Chambers, but Jesus popped up at the death to break Boro hearts.
Thumping strike by Kompany! Ball after ball is flung into the Middlesbrough box, but the home side are just about able to deal with each of them. Kompany is then set up with a chance to shoot from 30 yards out, but his rocket of a strike sails comfortably wide of the goal.
Huge opportunity for Jesus! Sterling and Sane battle for the ball over on the left-hand side of the Middlesbrough penalty area before the latter finally manages to poke a pass back to Jesus. The Brazilian quickly shoots but is immediately closed down, and linesman's flag is then raised to indicate that Sane set up the striker from an offside position.
S. Agüero
Manchester City
Aguero seems to have picked up a slight knock and is forced off to be replaced by Nolito.
Another important block by Chambers! Once again, Aguero darts into the penalty area as he tries to latch on to a cross from the right flank, but he's beaten to the ball by Chambers and loses out to the on-loan centre-back.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be five minutes of added time. Can either side find a late winner?
Aguero almost makes it 3-2! Navas skips down the right wing and beats two players before swinging a lovely cross into the heart of the box. It looks set to pick out Aguero in front of goal, but it flies just past the Argentine before the ball is headed away by Chambers.
Acrobatic effort by Gestede! The ball pinballs around the City penalty area dangerously once again before Gestede is finally able to unleash a wonderful scissor kick, but it flies straight into the hands of Caballero in the middle of the goal.
S. Agüero
Manchester City
That was lovely play by Aguero, who saw a pocket of space available and did really well to make it count. Middlesbrough's midfielders should have been more aware of the danger, though.
Gabriel Jesus
Manchester City
GOAL! City have equalised! Aguero is left all alone outside of the Middlesbrough penalty area and is able to lift a lovely cross into the middle of the box, where Jesus rises high and beats both Gibson and Chambers before sending a bullet header into the back of the net.
Thumping strike by De Roon! The City defence fail to deal with yet another lofted pass into their box and allow the ball to bounce out to De Roon, who forces Caballero into making a sold save with his long-range strike.
Traore battles hard down the right wing and does well to win the home side a corner. It's swung towards the far post and almost finds De Roon, but Fernandinho is just about able to get a head on the ball at the vital moment.
R. Gestede
Álvaro Negredo
Middlesbrough have made a late alteration, with Rudy Gestede coming on to replace Negredo, who receives a rousing round of applause from the home fans as he makes way.
R. Sterling
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Another City attacking move comes to a disappointing end, resulting in Sterling lashing out at Clayton with a reckless sliding challenge. The attempted tackle is mistimed and leaves the referee with no choice but to show the substitute a yellow card.
Huge chance for Sterling! A lovely lofted pass is fired over the top of the Middlesbrough defence and finds Sterling in front of goal, but his first touch is far too heavy and sends the ball away from his feet before he can get a shot away from close range.
City immediately push forward from the restart as they desperately try to find another equaliser, but Middlesbrough are now sitting incredibly deep inside their own half of the pitch as they attempt to hold on to their slender lead.
C. Chambers
GOAL! Middlesbrough are back in front! The free-kick is well saved by Caballero but the home side immediately win the ball back. It pinballs around the penalty area dangerously before falling to Chambers, who, all alone in front of goal, calmly pokes a shot past Caballero and into the back of the net.
N. Otamendi
Yellow Card
Manchester City
A City attack breaks down and allows Middlesbrough to break forward on a quick counter. Traore flies past Otamendi as he tries to penetrate the penalty area, but he's cynically dragged to the ground by the Argentine and has to settle for a free-kick instead.
More good play by City results in Fernandinho curling a deep cross into the penalty area, but it's well cut out by Fabio at the far post before it can find Aguero in front of goal.
Adama Traoré
C. Stuani
Middlesbrough have made a substitution as they try to find a way back in front, with Adama Traore coming on to replace Stuani.
Sane, who is now being booed and jeered by the Middlesbrough fans, tries to cut inside from the left flank, but he's immediately closed down by a sea of red shirts and is dispossessed, resulting in the stadium being filled with laughs and cheers.
S. Agüero
Penalty Goal
Manchester City
GOAL! Aguero steps up and coolly fires a side-footed strike past Guzan and into the left-hand side of the net to equalise for City.
L. Sané
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Meanwhile, the referee has decided to show Sane a yellow card for his part in the shoving match.
M. de Roon
Yellow Card
A slight fracas breaks out amongst the two sets of players, and De Roon, who went over to argue with Sane, is also booked.
Yellow Card
The Middlesbrough players are absolutely livid at the decision, and Fabio immediately confronted the referee about it. As a result, he's quickly shown a yellow card for dissent.
PENALTY! Aguero and Sane link up well over on the left-hand side of the Middlesbrough penalty area before the German does down under a tackle from De Roon, resulting in the referee quickly pointing to the spot.
Navas goes close! A City corner is fired in from the left wing and just about dealt with by the hosts. The ball flies out to Navas, who then sends a bullet header towards goal, but Guzan is there to tip the effort over the top of the crossbar.
Sane causes problems for the hosts' defence once again as he weaves his way into the heart of the box, but, once again, Middlesbrough have plenty of bodies back and are able to clear the danger before the German can get a shot away.
Sane receives the ball in a pocket of space inside the Middlesbrough penalty area, but he's closed down quickly and can't get a shot away. He does well to spin and pick out De Bruyne, though, but the Belgian's 20-yard strike is poor and sails comfortably wide of the goal.
Aguero twists and turns deep inside the Middlesbrough box as he tries to carve out a bit of space for himself. He's eventually able to chip a cross over to Sterling, but Chambers beats him in the air and is just about able to head the ball away.
Ball after ball is flung into the Middlesbrough penalty area as City desperately try to find an equaliser, but the home side do really well to deal with everything the visitors throw at them.
Sane makes a nuisance of himself deep down the left wing as he cuts past his marker and into the panlty area, but, once again, he's unable to get the better of Guzan at the near post.
The free-kick is taken short and worked over to De Bruyne, who then unleashes a strike from 25 yards out. It's hit well enough but is fired straight down the middle of the goal, making life easy for Guzan.
A. Forshaw
Yellow Card
Sane breaks down the right wing on a purposeful run before being clipped from behind by a cynical challenge from Adam Forshaw, leaving the referee with no choice but to show him a yellow card and award City a free-kick.
And then Sterling goes close! The substitute flies into the Middlesbrough penalty area and meets the ball well before unleashing a thumping shot, but Chambers is there to throw his body in the way of the effort at the vital moment.
Chance for Clayton! Fabio shows great footwork as he weaves his way into the penalty area from the right wing. His low cross isn't dealt with well enough by the City back line and bounces out to Clayton, who quickly forces Caballero into making a smart stop.
R. Sterling
G. Clichy
Manchester City
Meanwhile, Clichy has made way for Raheem Sterling. It looks as if they're going to revert to playing with four at the back.
L. Sané
Aleix García
Manchester City
Pep Guardiola clearly isn't happy with what he's seen so far, so he's decided to make a double substitution. The first player to come on is Leroy Sane, who takes the place of Garcia.
Fabio flies down the right wing on a great run before curling an even better ball into the box, but Kompany is just about able to get a head on the cross before it can find De Roon in front of goal.
Aguero charges towards the Middlesbrough penalty area on a promising run before teeing up Jesus inside the box, but the Brazilian's first touch is far too heavy and denies him the opportunity to get a shot away.
We're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out on to the pitch ahead of the start of the second half. Neither side have made any substitutions during the half-time break.
Middlesbrough have easily been the better of the two sides so far, and they head into the half-time break with a well-deserved one-goal lead. They've caused plenty of problems for a nervous City back line whenever they've broken away quickly, whilst, at the other end of the pitch, Aguero and Jesus have looked frustrated at the lack of decent service they've received.
Navas cuts on to his left foot and swings a delightful ball into the middle of the Middlesbrough box. It looks set to find Jesus in front of goal, but the Brazilian drags Ben Gibson to the ground as the two battle for the ball and gives away a free-kick.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be just one minute of added time.
Clayton tangles with De Bruyne midway down the left wing and concedes a free-kick in a dangerous position. It's whipped in by the Belgian and towards a group of City players, but Stuani is there to meet it ahead of them.
Navas twists and turns deep down the right flank as he tries to find a way through a group of red shirts. He's eventually able to pick out Aleix Garcia behind him, but the teenager can't do much better with the ball and sends it straight over to Fabio.
A poor attempted clearance from Otamendi can only find Negredo on the edge of the penalty area, but this time the striker's low shot is poor and fails to trouble Caballero.
G. Friend
Friend got a vital touch on the ball to send it into the path of Negredo, but the City defence really should have done better there. They were caught far too open on the break and didn't enough to close down the striker on the edge of the penalty area.
Álvaro Negredo
GOAL! Middlesbrough have taken the lead! A low cross in from De Bruyne fails to find Aguero, allowing the home side to counter quickly. Downing bursts down the left wing on a great run before cutting a clever pass back to Negredo via Friend, and the Spaniard then fires a thumping shot into the back of the net off the inside of the near post.
Excellent chance for Jesus! Otamendi powers into the Middlesbrough half of the pitch on a purposeful run before setting up Jesus with a curling cross, but the Brazilian can't make it count and sends his downward header well wide of the goal.
Middlesbrough push forward once again before Downing swings in a cross from the left flank. It's poorly hit by the winger, though, and it fails to pick out a team-mate before sailing out for a goal-kick.
After a slightly slow start to the game, it's Middlesbrough who currently find themselves on the front foot. Friend cuts inside from the left wing and easily beats Navas before trying to swing a cross into the box, but the Spaniard is able to recover quickly and does well to dispossess the full-back at the vital moment.
Big chance for De Roon! The resulting set-piece is swung into the heart of the penalty area and is met by Kompany, who can only nod the ball down to De Roon. The Dutchman takes a quick touch and then shoots, but his close-range effort sails over the top of the crossbar.
V. Kompany
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Negredo charges down the right flank before taking on Kompany, who barges into the striker and sends him crashing to the ground, resulting in a yellow card for the City captain and a free-kick for Middlesbrough in a promising position out wide.
Another half-hearted City attack comes to an end and allows Middlesbrough to counter swiftly again, but, once again, Stuani can't make it count and fires his attempted cross-field pass straight to a black shirt.
City win themselves a corner over on the right flank, but it fails to result in a chance on goal and is easily dealt with by Middlesbrough. The hosts then break away on a quick counter-attack down the right wing through Stuani, who spends far too long on the ball and is easily dispossessed by Aguero before he can link up with Negredo.
Adam Clayton is clattered into by Fernandinho, resulting in a free-kick for the home side just inside the City half of the pitch. It's fired into the penalty area and finds Chambers, but the defender's headed effort is a poor one and loops straight into the hands of Caballero.
Stewart Downing and Friend link up well over on the left flank before the latter swings a cross into the penalty area, but it fails to reach Negredo due to a well-timed diving interception from Nicolas Otamendi.
Navas has seen quite a lot of the ball so far, but he's struggled to do much with it. Once again, the Spaniard cuts inside from the right wing before trying to pick out Aguero, but his pass towards the penalty area is poor and fails to find the Argentine.
City patiently hold on to possession deep inside the Middlesbrough half of the pitch before Kevin De Bruyne eventually fires a low cross into the penalty area, but it's underhit and fails to get the better of Calum Chambers.
C. Stuani
Yellow Card
Cristhian Stuani flies in from behind and commits a clumsy challenge, leaving the referee with no choice but to show the Uruguayan the first yellow card of the game.
De Roon shows great grit and determination as he wriggles his way past Fernandinho and towards the City penalty area. He then unleashes a rocket of a shot, but it sails comfortably wide of the goal.
Huge chance for Negredo! City are unable to deal with another Middlesbrough corner and allow the home side to push forward once again. The ball is driven into the box and finds Negredo at the back post, and the Spaniard immediately unleashes a fierce strike that flies a few yards wide of the goal.
Middlesbrough do well to win a corner over on the left wing, and it's swung straight on to the head of De Roon. The midfielder rises high and meets the ball well, but Vincent Kompany is there to get an important touch on the ball.
The ball pinballs around the Middlesbrough penalty area dangerously before Clichy is eventually able to send it over to Jesus. The Brazilian can't beat Marten de Roon in the air, though, as the Dutchman comes out on top with a towering header.
Great strike by Aguero! City continuing bossing possession as they try to carve out an early chance on goal. Aguero does well to skip away from Friend on the edge of the Middlesbrough box before unleashing a lovely curling shot, but it swerves just wide of the far post after beating Brad Guzan.
Jesus Navas picks up the ball midway down the right flank and quickly sends a cross-field pass over to Gael Clichy. The wing-back meets it well and then attempts to set up Aguero with a side-footed volley into the box, but it's mishit by the Frenchman and bounces into the side-netting.
Middlesbrough move the ball around well deep inside the City half of the pitch before George Friend tries to test Caballero from 30 yards out. The full-back's shot is a poor one, though, and sails high and wide of the goal.
And then Alvaro Negredo goes close to opening the scoring! Downing is left in an acre of space down the left wing and quickly whips a cross into the box. It finds Negredo, who then smashes a first-time shot into the hands of Willy Caballero, but the linesman's flag is quickly raised.
Early chance for Gabriel Jesus! Sergio Aguero immediately darts into the left-hand side of the Middlesbrough penalty area before fizzing a dangerous pass across the face of goal. It looks set to find Jesus, but the ball ends up flying just past the foot of the Brazilian.
We're off! City get us underway, attacking from left to right.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola has made five alterations to the team that featured in their last outing, with Claudio Bravo, Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane making way for Willy Caballero, Jesus Navas, Aleix Garcia, Gael Clichy and Gabriel Jesus as they switch to a back three.
Steve Agnew has decided to make just one change to the Middlesbrough side that started the 1-0 win against Sunderland during the week, with Fabio coming into the starting line-up to replace the injured Daniel Ayala.
Manchester City substitutes: Gunn, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernando, Nolito, Sane, Sterling.
Manchester City XI (3-4-1-2): Caballero; Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Navas, Fernandinho, Garcia, Clichy; De Bruyne; Aguero, Jesus.
Middlesbrough substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Barragan, Traore, Fischer, Bamford, Gestede.
Middlesbrough XI (4-3-3): Guzan; Fabio, Chambers, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Stuani, Negredo, Downing.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this afternoon…
City thought they were going to leave Thursday’s Manchester derby with what would have been three valuable points when Gabriel Jesus bundled the ball into the back of the net just moments after making his return from injury, but it was quickly ruled out by the linesman’s flag. The Brazilian starts here today for the first time since the middle of February, with Guardiola deciding to pair him with Sergio Aguero in a front two that could cause problems for the Middlesbrough defence.
That could prove very problematic as they take on a City back line that has looked pretty solid in recent weeks. That’s largely down to the return of Vincent Kompany, who seemed back to his best in the games against Southampton and Manchester United. As a result, Pep Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in their last three Premier League clashes, with only Chelsea managing to beat them since the 4-0 thrashing away to Everton in mid-January.
The win at home to Sunderland was their first in the league since the middle of December, a torrid 16-game run in which they only managed to pick up six points. Despite remaining relatively solid at the back, Boro have really struggled up front, where their goalscoring record remains the worst in the league. They’ve scored only seven times in 2017, with main striker Alvaro Negredo only managing to bag himself three goals in 17 Premier League outings.
With seven points separating Middlesbrough and Hull City after the latter’s goalless draw away to Southampton yesterday, it’s now or never for today’s hosts, who desperately need a victory if they’re to have any hope of avoiding relegation. They gave themselves a slight chance with Wednesday’s win against Sunderland, but unless they can follow that up with a series of victories, they’ll be joining the Black Cats in the second tier next season.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s Premier League game between Middlesbrough and Manchester City at the Riverside Stadium.