Newcastle United 1 Manchester City 1: Refereeing blunder costs Magpies in relegation battle
Newcastle United moved a point closer to safety on a night dominated by a costly refereeing blunder.
Rafa Benitez’s side drew 1-1 with Manchester City in a pulsating game at St James’s Park tonight.
And the result saw the second-bottom club move to within two points of 17th-placed Norwich City.
The game was dominated by the decision to let an offside goal from Sergio Aguero – his 100th in the Premier League – stand in the 14th minute.
Aguero was a yard offside when Aleksandar Kolarov swung in a disputed free-kick, but his header was not ruled out by referee Kevin Friend and Dave Bryan, his linesman.
A gutsy Newcastle fought back and levelled through a Vurnon Anita goal just past the hour-mark.
Moussa Sissoko – who had forced a save from Joe Hart himself two minutes earlier – played in Anita with a cross-field ball, and the right-back cut inside and shot across City’s goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.
Both sides pushed for a winner after the break.
Benitez threw on Aleksandar Mitrovic, Georginio Wijnaldum and Rolando Aarons in the second half, but United couldn’t get a winning goal, with Wijnaldum denied late on by Joe Hart.
Newcastle’s players – who had ran themselves into the ground – were given a standing ovation by the club’s fans.
But Friend and his assistants were booed off the field.
United are back in action on Saturday when they take on Liverpool at Anfield, a stadium where they haven’t won a league fixture since 1994.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett; Tiote, Colback; Townsend (Wijnaldum, 80), Sissoko, Perez (Aarons, 90); Cisse (Mitrovic, 55). Subs not used: Woodman, Saivet, Shelvey, de Jong.
MANCHESTER CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Delph (Sterling, 68), Navas (Bony, 84), Toure, De Bruyne, Aguero. Subs not used: Caballero, Demichelis, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Iheanacho.
Goals: Aguero 14, Anita 31
Bookings: Anita 44, Perez 56, Kompany 66, Sissoko 90
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)