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City move back on top after goal-line drama

Pin Agüero's 20th goal of the season was enough to see of a stubborn Burnley side.
Agüero's 20th goal of the season was enough to see of a stubborn Burnley side.

City move back on top after goal-line drama

Tom Cunild by Tom Cunild @besoccer_es - 0 +12k

Manchester City regained the lead in the Premier League title race after Sergio Agüero's goal, which crossed the line by just 29mm, saw them beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.

It wasn't the Argentinian's prettiest goal, but it may prove to be one of his most important. The ball fell to City's top scorer in the 64th minute following a Bernardo Silva cross from the right, but it originally looked as if defender Matt Lowton had recovered remarkably to deny Agüero his 20th league goal of the season as he chested the ball up before volleying it clear.

After a check of his watch, however, referee Paul Tierney blew his whistle and pointed back to the halfway line, sparking wild celebrations from the City players in which their relief was clear to see.

This relief came as a result of a frustrating first half in which the defending champions looked anything but themselves. They failed to create any real clear cut chances, with Burnley's well-organised and stubborn defensive line proving difficult to break down. 

Whilst City dominated possession, knocking the ball around without any real zip on a dry Turf Moor pitch, it was hosts Burnley who had the best chance of the first half. Kyle Walker slipped as he brought the ball out of defence, presenting it to Jeff Hendrick who slipped through striker Chris Wood. Ederson sprinted out quickly to smother the ball after a heavy touch from Wood, sparing his defender's blushes and preventing the pressure on City being turned up a notch further.

Guardiola's frustration with his side's performance was evident heading into the break, and whatever he said in the dressing room at half-time clearly got through to the players. City looked like a different side in the second half; the league leaders passed the ball around quickly and with real intent after the interval. Agüero and Bernardo Silva forced alert saves from Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal as 'The Citizens' upped the ante, and they will count themselves very unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty after Ashley Barnes clearly seemed to use his arm to block a Bernardo Silva effort from outside the area.

There was more drama in Burnley's goalmouth ten minutes after the goal. Gabriel Jesus did brilliantly to beat Matt Lowton and he looked set to score after rounding Tom Heaton, but some excellent defending from Ben Mee, who stood out in Burnley's defence all afternoon, saw him appear out of nowhere to clear the ball off the line.

From there on out, City controlled the game in typical Guardiola fashion - playing keep ball and stretching out their opponents. Burnley, in truth, created nothing of note and never looked like beating PFA Team of the Year Goalkeeper Ederson in the Manchester City net.

Although they were unimpressive for much of the game, Man City will know that the most important thing today was to take home the three points: something made possible by a milestone goal for Agüero. With that strike, he becomes only the second ever player to score 20 Premier League goals in six diferent seasons after a certain Alan Shearer.

In this pulsating battle for the Premier League trophy, it's rather fitting that the title may be decided by just a matter of millimetres - 29 to be precise. If this were not enough, it's worth casting your mind back to City's clash with Liverpool at the Etihad earlier this season, where John Stones managed to clear a Sadio Mané effort that had struck the post just as it seemed to have crossed the line. Fine margins indeed, but Manchester City edge closer to back-to-back league titles.




Tom Cunild

Tom Cunild

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