For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below
Pablo Osvaldo scored a first-half equaliser to earn Southampton a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
The Italy forward was involved in an post-match melee as injury-hit Southampton slipped to a third consecutive defeat against Aston Villa on Wednesday, but he returned to St Mary's Stadium and grabbed the headlines for the right reasons. An individual effort from Southampton’s big-money signing was brought the home side level after Sergio Aguero continued his purple patch in front of goal in the 10th minute to hand Manchester City an early lead.
Manuel Pellegrini's side won at West Brom on Wednesday to record their second win away from the Etihad Stadium in the Barclays Premier League this season, but were unable to build on that result at St Mary’s.
Midfielder Victor Wanyama suffered a hairline fracture to his leg and right-back Nathaniel Clyne damaged his pelvis in midweek, meaning Jack Cork and Calum Chambers came in as two of four changes in Pochettino's injury-ravaged side. James Milner and Alvaro Negredo were recalled to the City XI and the latter was let down by a heavy touch after strike partner Aguero played him in on goal after six minutes.
Steven Davis scored in both matches against City last season and dragged an early shot wide before Aguero opened the scoring. Samir Nasri teed-up Aleksandar Kolarov and the overlapping left-back's low cross was dispatched first time by Aguero, his 17th goal in 15 appearances.
Kolarov glanced wide from a Nasri corner three minutes later and Aguero blazed Pablo Zabaleta's 31st-minute cut-back over. Adam Lallana was involved in much of Southampton's best work but could not bring down Chambers' lofted pass in time to avoid Milner's last-ditch clearance.
Lallana and James Ward-Prowse both failed to convert a Luke Shaw cross and another delivery from the left-back was headed wide by fellow defender Chambers in the 37th minute before Southampton levelled. Osvaldo superbly brought down Davis' long pass and turned Vincent Kompany before arching a shot into the top-far corner via the crossbar.
Nasri almost gave City a lead when he fired over after being picked out by Milner, while Paulo Gazzaniga thwarted efforts from Aguero and Yaya Toure. Osvaldo lifted a shot over in the 53rd minute after Costel Pantilimon dashed out to stop Jay Rodriguez.
Saints’ front pair were lively and Osvaldo pulled wide in the 57th minute after more build-up play from Rodriguez.
Pellegrini introduced Javi Garcia and Jesus Navas in place of Negredo and Milner with 62 minutes played, and Aguero raced outside Jose Fonte to shoot past the far post five minutes later.
City could be eight points behind Arsenal when the leaders arrive at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.
Southampton manger Mauricio Pochettino: "It was a very important point today, to end the bad results we've been on. We've been up against it quite a bit with injuries. Psychologically today, to end with a result, was amazing for us.
"I'm always proud of my team. Despite the bad run of results we've been in, some of the results have been underserved. A draw today was well deserved and we're a little bit sad too because we could have won."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "I think it is a good point for us because we didn't play better than Southampton. Southampton played very well also. I think it was a very close game for both teams.
"We had one or two other chances and so did they to score, so I think it was a very logical result.
"I think we started very well but then we started losing the ball too easily. With the players Southampton have in the middle it is really difficult to play when you are always running behind the ball.
"I think it was a really tough game for our team. All of us want to win all the games but today we played against a really good team."
|14 Dec 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|22 Dec 2013||v Spurs (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Cardiff (A)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Everton (A)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Chelsea (H)|
|11 Jan 2014||v West Brom (H)|