Mancini rues ‘stupid goal’ as City crash

A goal seven minutes from time by Luke Moore blew the title race wide open as Manchester City gave way to Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Having missed a sixth-minute penalty, last season’s Championship play-off winners won the game in the 83rd minute when Moore rose at the far post to head home a pin-point cross from Wayne Routledge.

City battered at Swansea’s door in the final moments and registered 18 shots on target. However, Dutch keeper Michel Vorm was equal to the task and Swansea held on for a famous win. Come the end of the season, it could be the most vital game of the campaign, for both sides.

Roberto Mancini, however, was playing down talk that United had stolen a march. He said; “It has been a difficult last four days for me. But I don’t think we deserved to lose this game. Swansea played very well for the first 30 minutes, they played very good football.

“After that, in the second half we had control of the game, but we missed three or four chances and that is the problem we have at the moment. After that we conceded a stupid goal. We cannot concede goals like that.

“Yes, we could be tired because after seven months, when you play three games in one week, it is tough.

“With the league, we shall fight against them until the end. We have another 10 games to finish this championship. The season is long and every weekend the situation changes. It is important that we stay together. But this changes nothing. It is better to be at the top, but now we are a point behind. It doesn’t change anything.”

No such worries for Brendan Rodgers. “There have been some wonderful results over many years at this great club but certainly it was a terrific performance,” he said. “When you take on a team like Manchester City, with the resources they have, and you dominate the game as we did, it fills you with great pride.”

Man City’s decision to press Swansea high up the field, was no big deal for Rodgers whose side continued to play under pressure. There were encouraging signs when Sinclair, twice, escaped the clutches of Micah Richards. However, when the ball fell kindly to Routledge at the far post, he fired high and wide of Joe Hart’s goal.

Moments later and with the visitors at sixes and sevens, Swansea were awarded a penalty when Joe Hart clipped the heels of Routledge. Sinclair was on target but Hart was equal to it.

Mancini was hopping mad at his side’s abject performance and nine minutes before the interval, he replaced Gareth Barry with Sergio Aguero. Barry was clearly miffed at the decision and made his feelings known to David Platt as he left for the dugout.

Squeezing further up the field at the beginning of the second half, Man City were a far greater force without ever threatening in the final third until Balotelli’s through ball found Aguero on the edge of the box. His shot was crisp but off target.

Vorm was called into action to deny Samir Nasri and then Aguero as City pushed on in pursuit of the goal that would surely win it. They thought their chance had come when Balotelli appeared to be brought down by Joe Allen. Referee waved play on and rightly so.

As Swansea rallied again, Moore stepped up to the plate. Gylfi Sigurdsson stole the ball in midfield and after a patient build-up, Routledge picked out Moore who made no mistake.

Richards thought he had equalised with a header a minute from time, but the goal was ruled out for offside. It would have been tough on Swansea.


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