Huddersfield take vital point from Manchester City’s title party

Draw at the Etihad could be critical in Huddersfield’s battle to avoid relegation

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

 

Manchester City 0 Huddersfield 0

After Manchester City tweeted in support of Alex Ferguson on Saturday the mood here was celebratory from start to finish as the coronation of Pep Guardiola’s champions should be – though the pitch invasion at the close featured two City fans holding a large banner saying: “Football aside get well Fergie.”

City had walked out to a guard-of-honour made up from survivors of the 1968 title-winning team in an Etihad Stadium turned blue-and-white by flags placed on seats.

The visitors began as so many do here: watching a medley of passes from Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, Kyle Walker, Fernandinho and David Silva flash before them. The latter had the opening chance as he broke behind Huddersfield Town lines and aimed a low shot at Jonas Lössi, the goalkeeper making the save.

David Wagner’s side offered an near-instant response via Aaron Mooy, though his effort required Ederson only to watch it. The German’s tactic was to box City in when the ball was with their Brazilian goalkeeper. So it was that with players surrounding the area Ederson misplaced one clearance straight to Mooy, the No1 perhaps feeling more pressurised that usual at this venue.

This caused a shake of Guardiola’s head and there was more from Mooy. The Australian found Steve Mounié with a clever inside-out ball that had City’s rear-guard scrambling.

Before this Sane had rolled the ball into De Bruyne but the Belgian’s measured left-foot shot went wide. Later Sane again broke through and failed to find Sterling. The pattern continued when Gabriel Jesus failed to finish a De Bruyne cross from near in.

It all had Guardiola glum-faced as he watched on. Mooy, though, was having a fine half: his next touch was to find Chris Lowe with a no-look pass, the No 15 receiving the ball close to Lossi’s goal but, from a narrow angle, he snatched at the opportunity.

Alex Pritchard had gone far closer when forcing Ederson into a flying save to his right, tipping the ball around the post for a corner and, as the second half started, his team remained on level terms.

Guardiola had selected as close to his strongest available side, bringing in John Stones and David Silva for Aymeric Laporte and Ilkay Gundogan from the 4-1 win at West Ham.

Wagner’s two changes were the standing down of Rajiv van La Parra and Collin Quaner for Mathias Jørgensen and Pritchard with his team still requiring a win from their last three games to ensure survival.

If Guardiola put a flea in his charges’ ears at half-time a slipshod Walker pass that ceded possession will have particularly annoyed. Still, with Huddersfield now attacking towards their supporters the sight of Ederson confidently taking a high ball will have cheered his manager.

City went close in a goal-line scramble that had the ball parried on to Mounié and scrambled away by Christopher Schindler. Huddersfield’s first-half exertions began to tell. They became more encamped in and around their area as City pressed for a win that would take them to a record 96 points.

For the closing period Guardiola took off Stones for Bernardo Silva, switching to a back three, but victory proved elusive. For Huddersfield this was a credible and invaluable point in the fight to beat the drop.

And, for Vincent Kompany, after final whistle there was another proud moment. The Belgian, not in the match-day squad, finally lifted the Premier League trophy – a third time he has done so for the club.

(Guardian service)

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