Newcastle 1-1 Man City: Never-say-die Magpies are still alive and kicking
Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero's 100th Barclays Premier League goal was not enough to see off battling Newcastle as the Magpies banked another precious point towards their survival fund.
The Argentina star glanced home a 15th-minute header, albeit one which should have been ruled out for offside, to reach his century in 147 appearances, a feat bettered only by Geordie hero Alan Shearer.
However, a 31st-minute equaliser from Vurnon Anita snatched a 1-1 draw which leaves City five points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and Rafael Benitez's men two from safety with four games remaining.
With Vincent Kompany back at the heart of the City defence, the victory the Spaniard so desperately needed looked a tall order, and the task became even sterner within 15 minutes of kick-off.
The visitors, not unsurprisingly, had enjoyed the greater share of the possession, and although Papiss Cisse had headed over from an inviting fourth-minute Andros Townsend cross, they took the lead in controversial circumstances.
Townsend was aggrieved to have been penalised for his challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov, and his disappointment increased markedly when the Serbia international drilled the resulting free-kick to the near post and Aguero rose to glance it past keeper Karl Darlow with the officials failing to spot that he did so from an offside position.
Newcastle should have been level when skipper Moussa Sissoko ran on to Kolarov's ill-judged pass and burst past Kompany, only to shoot tamely at keeper Joe Hart.
But the Frenchman did play a key role as the home side got themselves back on terms 14 minutes before the break. He collected Townsend's pass on the left and floated a crossfield ball out towards Anita, who cushioned it into his path before cutting inside and drilling left-footed past Hart and in off the base of the far post.
Benitez takes his Newcastle team to Anfield on Saturday to face Liverpool, where he won the Champions League in 2005
"We have to try to win every game, it doesn't matter where," he said.
"My connection with Liverpool is obvious, it's quite good, but hopefully they will do really well in the Europa League and we can get three points in the Premier League. We believe now that we can fight, we can beat anyone.
"It's true that we are doing well, so hopefully the game away against a very good team like Liverpool, we can see the same things."
City boss Manuel Pellegrini hailed Aguero after his 100th Premier League goal.
"He deserves it because he's a player that makes an important difference," he said.
NEWCASTLE: Darlow, Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett, Tioté, Colback, Townsend (Wijnaldum 81), Sissoko, Pérez (Aarons 90), Cissé (Mitrovic 55).
Goals: Anita 31
Booked: Anita, Perez, Sissoko
Subs not used: De Jong, Shelvey, Saivet, Woodman.
MAN CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Touré (Fernandinho 73), Fernando, Navas (Bony 84), De Bruyne, Delph (Sterling 68), Agüero.
Goals: Aguero 14
Booked: Kompany, Mangala
Subs not used: Caballero, Demichelis, Otamendi, Iheanacho.
Match rating: 6/10
Man of the match: Sissoko
Referee: Kevin Friend