Manchester City 1-1 Hull City: Milner saves City’s bacon in stoppage time

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Things appeared to be dire for Manchester City, with their title chances potentially on the ropes. They didn’t win, but James Milner produced the moment at the Etihad they needed after 90 minutes of wastefulness.

Milner, on as a substitute, struck an exquisite free-kick in the first minute of added time to cancel out David Meyler’s first-half goal. The home side had nearly all the possession and creativity in the second half, but Hull defended strong throughout the 45 minutes of constant pressure, and frustrated Manuel Pellegrini’s side that will be utterly disappointed not to come away with the win.

Surprisingly, Sone Aluko had the first shot of the game, but it was a weak attempt that Joe Hart did well to smother from a tight angle just three minutes in. There wasn’t much in the game in the minutes after that, as Manchester City poked and prodded the wide areas of the Hull defense but to no avail early. Sergio Aguero had an opening on 12 minutes but a heavy touch ruined the chance.

Hull City nearly hit against the run of play as Robbie Brady beat Pablo Zabaleta with a great cross to the far post that found Ahmed Elmohamady, but the Egyptian’s header cannoned off the crossbar from close range. That did spring Hull to life for a bit, and on a crazy sequence they finally punished the home side.

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A break saw Hull City somehow get shots on goal despite City owning the numbers advantage at the back. Joe Hart came way too far off his line, but wasn’t punished right away as he saved Jake Livermore’s shot from distance. It wasn’t cleared, however, and the follow-up from Gaston Ramirez slid past Hart but rolled into the post. Finally, David Meyler latched onto the rebound, and Hull’s third attempt put them ahead.

That wasn’t all for the visitors, as they looked to add onto the lead, but their bright attacking play saw out the half without another. Manchester City came out of the break with the search lights on, and had a chance on 53 minutes. Zabaleta’s cross found Aguero in the box but the Argentinian’s shot drove into the ground and Allan McGregor stretched to make a great save. City had a penalty should minutes later, but referee Jon Moss shook off the call despite Silva crumbling to the ground on a shove from Alex Bruce.

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Manchester City continued to pour on the pressure, but their creativity lacked real bite. They piled up the corner kicks, but were poor on the deliveries. Having used both his strikers in the starting lineup, Manuel Pellegrini was short on useable attacking players, forcing him to bring on James Milner for Dzeko past the hour mark. Milner was bright, and City sprang to live as the clock ticked down.

Sergio Aguero was unlucky after a bit of quality in the final minute of regulation, as he controlled and volleyed from a tight angle but clattered the corner of the crossbar. Finally, Milner rewarded the Citizens for their hard work, with a beautiful free-kick into the top right corner as added time began. The point wasn’t enough to keep pace with Chelsea, though, and City falls seven points back of the Blues at the top. Hull, meanwhile, came minutes from pulling completely of the relegation zone, but instead they can only draw level with Burnley on points, while going ahead on goal differential into 17th.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Clichy, Demichelis, Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernando (Navas 46′), Fernandinho, Silva (Jovetic 74′), Dzeko (Milner 66′), Aguero, Nasri.

Goals: Milner 90+1′

Hull City: McGregor, Dawson, Bruce, McShane, Elmohamady, Meyler, Livermore, Huddlestone, Brady (Quinn 90′), Ramírez (Dame 76′), Aluko (Robertson 67′).

Goals: Meyler 35′