English Premier League champions Manchester City failed to deliver their best attacking football and were held to a 0-0 draw by a courageous Huddersfield Town in Sunday’s league clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City 0 Huddersfield Town 0
De Bruyne goes close
Pritchard forces Ederson into fine save
Mendy misses with a rocket
Malone sees late shot saved
Champions City were understandably not playing with their usual flair and pomp and it was the away side that dominated the opening first half in terms of having the better of the chances.
In the second stanza, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy went close late on although the Terriers deserved their valuable point.
Man City dominated the possession as expected although the away team were well organised and gave very little away in the final third.
In the 11th minute they had a decent chance to take the lead from a free-kick routine which appeared to come straight from the training ground.
An alert Alex Pritchard rolled in Florent Hadergjonaj though the Switzerland midfielder only succeeded in scuffing his shot which led to a simple save from Ederson in goal.
The hosts responded just two minutes later as a surging run from Leroy Sane down the left saw the Germany speedster pull it back to Kevin De Bruyne, though the playmaker struck his first-time strike just beyond the near post.
In the 21st minute the lively Aaron Mooy found a pocket of space to pick out Pritchard in a dangerous area, and the attacking midfielder fired in a sizzling shot on target.
Pep Guardiola’s men were indebted to Ederson as he produced a diving full-length save to keep the scoreline at 0-0. Incredibly, the Terriers were the more threatening attacking side and just after the half-an-hour mark came close again.
Mooy was the architect as he slipped in Chris Löwe on the left, though the full-back was not composed as he blazed over the crossbar.
With that said, the visitors were grateful to keeper Jonas Lössl in the 35th minute as he showed great bravery to block a blistering strike from De Bruyne from around 10-yards out from the target.
In the sunshine, City were not at their free-flowing majestic best and it ended goalless at the break. After the interval, the action continued to be labored though Tommy Smith was on his toes to clear a fumble from Lossl, with Nicolás Otamendi in close attendance.
Manager David Wagner’s men were displaying great courage and after Otamendi fed in De Bruyne into the area, his cutback towards Gabriel Jesus was brilliantly blocked by Mathias Jorgensen.
It appeared at times that the Citizens were already on their holidays as they were subdued and were failing to make many openings against the determined team from West Yorkshire.
However, hearts were nearly broken inside the last five minutes or so as first substitute Silva fired just wide with a half-volley, before moments later Mendy sent a rocket just past the top corner from outside the box.
In injury time Scott Malone nearly stole the points for Huddersfield as he caught the home side on a counter, and burst into the box. Yet, his strike on goal was saved with relative ease by the solid Ederson.