Belfast Telegraph

Guardiola's frustration stoked by Man City's title slip-up

Manchester City 0 Stoke City 0

By Andy Hampson

Stoke frustrated Manchester City as they held out for a goalless draw in their rearranged Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

City, who rested the in-form Raheem Sterling, came to life after a drab first half but were unable to find a way through the Potters' stubborn rearguard.

The result lifted City level with second-placed Tottenham but the overwhelming feeling at the final whistle was of an opportunity missed as they are 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

City boss Pep Guardiola said: "Frustrated is a tough word. We didn't win but we didn't lose. We created a lot of chances and they didn't. We tried. We fought like never before.

"In the second half we were better. At high levels you have to play every three or four days and you have to get used to it. To play in three competitions is not easy when the opponent is playing one or two, but it is what it is.

"We go to Middlesbrough in two and a half days and we will prepare mentally to win."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said: "We could have very easily taken the lead and we restricted them to very few clear opportunities. Not many teams come here and do that."

City struggled to generate momentum throughout, while Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne were subdued.

City showed greater intent after the break, especially after the introduction of David Silva. But the frustration continued.

Guardiola's men pushed to the end but Aguero drove into the side-netting and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho volleyed wide.

MAN CITY: Caballero, Sagna, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy, Toure (Iheanacho, 76 mins), Jesus Navas (Silva, 57 mins), Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Unused subs: Bravo, Zabaleta, Nolito, Delph, Stones.

STOKE: Grant, Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Cameron, Allen (Imbula, 85 mins), Berahino (Whelan, 79 mins), Sobhi, Walters, Diouf (Afellay, 79 mins). Unused subs: Muniesa, Adam, Given, Crouch.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Man of the match: Ryan Shawcross

Match rating: 4/10

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