Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised his side’s desire and fighting spirit as they held off a determined challenge from Aston Villa to claim three points on Saturday, Sky
A terrible blunder from visiting goalkeeper Brad Guzan gifted the champions an early lead as the American’s sliced clearance fell perfectly for Sergio Aguero, who easily slotted the ball home to return to the top of the Premier League’s scoring chart.
Joe Hart was quick off his line to deny Christian Benteke at the other end in Villa’s best chance of the first half, but it took until the 66th minute for the second goal of the afternoon as Aleksandar Kolarov expertly curled a free-kick through the wall and past Guzan to double City’s lead.
However, FA Cup finalists Villa were quick to respond as loanee Tom Cleverley scored his first goal for the club with a low shot from just outside the box after Man City had failed to completely clear a corner.
And they made it 2-2 with just five minutes to play from another corner as Carlos Sanchez hooked the ball in. Benteke was then harshly judged offside when through on goal and having been taken down by Hart, and just a minute later that decision proved costly for the visitors when Fernandinho scored from close range to win it.
After the dramatic end to the match, Pellegrini said: “We played against a team that played very well. Maybe for our team it was one of our worst games of the season in possession. We lost so many balls during the game that it was very easy for Aston Villa to have possession of the ball.
“So many games we have 70, 75 per cent of possession and we lost.I think today we didn’t play so well but we have spirit to fight, to try to win – you see this in the last five minutes when they (equalised).”
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