Southampton dominated Manchester City for large periods at St. Mary’s on Saturday as Daniel Osvaldo’s wonder-goal sealed a deserved 1-1 draw.
City took the lead early on through Sergio Aguero’s 17th goal in this last 15 games, as Southampton looked slack at the back. But to their credit the Saints came roaring back and pushed and pushed for an equalizer that finally came just before the break when Italian international Osvaldo delivered a moment of pure class.
Running down the left flank he took on three City defenders, flick the ball past another and then bent in an unstoppable shot into the top corner for an early contender for Goal of the Season.
With the point injury-hit Southampton stay in eighth, while Man City drop to fourth after a somewhat lackluster display.
The visitors started brightly as City almost got through on goal twice in quick succession through Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, but Southampton managed to get back and defend well with last-ditch challenges.
Southampton responded well and Steven Davis smashed an effort just wide as the home side tried to force the issue. However in the 10th minute City were 1-0 up as a great cross from Aleksandar Kolarov on the left found Aguero who smashed home on the turn to put City ahead.
Saints tried to respond and Dejan Lovren’s header in the 19th minute from James Ward-Proswe’s corner flashed just wide, as the home side tried to force their way back into the game.
After that came a sustained amount of pressure as Southampton’s fans cranked up the volume inside St. Mary’s but the best chance they had was an effort that Osvaldo smashed over the bar from an offside position. Luke Shaw kept surging down the left for Saints and the teenager was creating all kinds of problems for Pablo Zabaleta, one of his crosses found Osvaldo but the Italian forward couldn’t connect with his strike.
After that City broke ominously and a great diagonal ball found Zabaleta in the box and his cut back for fellow Argentine Aguero was uncharacteristically smashed over the bar. City’s top scorer should’ve done better but Saints kept pushing ahead as Adam Lallana and others went close to an equalizer for the Saints. In the 37th minute Shaw delivered a wicked left wing cross that teenage right back Calum Chambers headed wide of the goal when it looked easier to score.
Before half time Saints’ deserved equalizer arrived through Osvaldo. What a goal it was.
A long ball to the left side of the box found the lone striker and he took the ball down with three City defenders around him. A few flicks and touches saw Osvaldo expertly create himself some space and he then curled in a inch-perfect effort into the top corner to send the home fans into raptures with his second goal in as many games.
In truth it was no more than the home side deserved as they pegged City back after Aguero’s opener. The Saints, who were playing with three teenagers in their starting lineup, were pressing to go ahead as the half time whistle blew.
City responded well after the break as Yaya Toure bent a terrific effort just wide of the top corner but a stunning run from Jay Rodriguez set up Osvaldo to try and put Saints ahead… but he ballooned his effort over the bar. City made some changes as they aimed to force the initiative and they piled on the pressure late in the game.
Southampton pressed to try and grab the winner as they had the better of proceedings but the game finished 1-1. Manuel Pellegrini may be relieved that his City side didn’t slip up, once again, away from the Etihad.
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis (Reed, 90), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Ramirez, 85), Rodriguez, Osvaldo (Lambert, 77).
Goal: Osvaldo (41)
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Milner (Garcia, 62), Yaya Toure (Dzeko, 79), Fernandinho, Nasri; Aguero, Negredo (Navas, 62)
Goal: Aguero (10)