Champions Manchester City dropped two vital points in the English Premier League title race as Jonjo Shelvey’s stunning late strike earned struggling Newcastle United a 2-2 home draw on Saturday.
While the result moved Newcastle a further point clear of the relegation zone, it dealt a huge blow to City’s ambitions of winning a third straight league title.
A scrappy game was drifting towards a draw when Kevin de Bruyne’s 82nd-minute thunderbolt looked to have won the game for City, who began the day nine points behind Liverpool.
Yet for the second time in the match, Newcastle replied quickly as Shelvey curled a shot past Ederson in the 88th minute, ensuring that Steve Bruce’s side moved six points clear of the drop zone before the later kick-offs.
Off-key City still could have snatched victory with Raheem Sterling, who had scored their opener, having a late effort well saved by outstanding home keeper Martin Dubravka.
The expression on City manager Pep Guardiola’s face said it all as he walked off in the knowledge that Liverpool will move 11 points clear later if they beat Brighton later.
“We found a way and today we found it again but unfortunately, at the end, we conceded a goal,” he said, reflecting on how his side had 24 goal attempts and 77 per cent possession but still failed to win.
“We could not score (with) all the chances we had; they scored (with) the two chances they had. Sometimes it happens. In good moments, be calm. In bad moments, live these kind of moments,” added the Spaniard.
As for Shelvey, he said: “I might be a hero in Liverpool now but we need to get as many points on the board as quickly as possible.”
Sterling had fired City in front in the 22nd minute but their lead lasted only three minutes, as Jetro Willems finished off a fine Newcastle move.
Despite enjoying overwhelming territorial superiority, City lacked their usual cutting edge as Newcastle sat deep but de Bruyne’s late 25-metre strike which cannoned in off the underside of the crossbar appeared to have sealed it.
Newcastle had other ideas though and grabbed a point to leave Guardiola frustrated.
City failed to win at St James’ Park for the second straight season.
Guardiola’s side lost 2-1 in January, which sparked a 14-match winning run that took City to the title – a point ahead of Liverpool. They might have to go unbeaten for the rest of this season to even get close to threatening Liverpool’s bid to win a first league title in 30 years.