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Match Reports

REPORT: MANCHESTER CITY 0-0 TOWN

6 May 2018

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A superbly resolute defensive performance clinched Town a vital point in the hunt for Premier League survival at the Etihad, becoming the only side to ensure Manchester City drew a blank on home soil for the first time this season.

The first half concluded in a firmly poised manner, with Town arguably the side to have come closest to going 1-0 up; Alex Pritchard was denied only by Ederson's athleticism to produce a magnificent stop. A theme of City pressure ensued throughout much of the latter 45, and as all eleven players continued to give their all in keeping City out, late chances from Scott Malone and Laurent Depoitre came mightily close to nabbing maximum points in the dying seconds.

On an afternoon which saw Pep Guardiola's Cityzens deservedly lift the Premier League amongst a carnival Etihad atmosphere, David Wagner made two squad alterations for what was an important fixture in its own right for Town following on from last Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Everton.

Collin Quaner and Rajiv van La Parra made way for Chris Löwe and Club Captain Tommy Smith, as the Terriers adopted a change of shape in a bid to keep what has been a thoroughly rampant City attack at bay.

Town pressed early on, forcing City to play out from deep. But as so often the case throughout this campaign, City forward transition took shape in the blink of an eye.

Jonas Lössl gathered with confidence as David Silva intricately spotted Raheem Sterling's run between the lines.

Lössl once again had to be alert, this time in order to bat away Silva's close-range effort from settling in the far post. Terence Kongolo stumbled in the area, which allowed David Silva to drive with intent into the six-yard area, which ultimately failed to come to fruition as Town's Danish custodian made sure lines were cleared effectively.

Despite expected pressure from City to open up proceedings on a baking hot East Manchester day, Town looked more than comfortable in possession. Aaron Mooy took advantage of generous amounts of space 25 yards from goal. The Aussie let fly, but the attempt sailed wide of Ederson's left post.

A half-chance maybe, but Florent Hadergjonaj would have an even bigger chance to take the lead in-front of the sell-out Eastland’s crowd.

The Swiss International - utilised as a central midfielder for this clash - was inventively slipped in from a quick Alex Pritchard free-kick, and as it seemed it was only Ederson to beat, Florent couldn't make the adequate connection required to fire home.

That being said, the energy and desire with which Town had started was there for all to see; City was hassled out of possession numerous times, relinquishing possession just yards into the Town half, as the deep block came to maximum effect. As the 20 minute mark beckoned, it certainly was the Navy and Pink Terriers who looked the bigger threat.

Alex Pritchard found himself a whisker away from giving his side the lead. The January signing unleashed a dipping long-range effort which was only thwarted from nestling in the corner by a sensational finger-tip save from Ederson.

Although City posed danger with threats on either flank and the capable delivery accuracies, Town continued to fashion excellent openings. Terence Kongolo's header back into the final third found Aaron Mooy, who's awareness sought Chris Löwe's advances down the left.

The German - making a first appearance since the January defeat to Liverpool - drilled towards goal, but to no avail, as Ederson's side bore the brunt.

At the other end, a corner routine eventually found its way to Kevin De Bruyne, and as the dangerous Belgian looked to create that acre of space for a shot, it eventually came with an enormous amount of force. Lössl didn't know too much about it, as the ball cannoned off the 'keeper before being cleared without hesitation.

Gabriel Jesus' initial action in the contest saw the Brazilian glance over after leaping highest to meet Raheem Sterling's cross at the far post, as City looked to take a foothold. Nonetheless, Town had more than held its own in a half where the quality of chances was definitely of an equal measure ahead of the interval.

Town persistently kept a solid shape, and did a useful job of nicking the ball off City's myriad of offensive options before a potentially dangerous situation could unfold. Ederson authoratively claimed a high, hanging cross ahead of Steve Mounié, as the Benin striker lurked to head home.

City did come close to breaking the deadlock from a corner. A mix-up between Mounié and Lössl caused a delivery to trickle inches from the line until Christopher Schindler heroically recovered to hoof away and keep Town's hopes of coming away with some sort of reward in-tact for the time being at least.

Town was defending superbly; everything City tried was resisted by the stubborn wall of Navy. Only a number of wayward headers from Gabriel Jesus was the closest City had come as the crucial final 10-minute period commenced.

In truth, it was backs against the wall for the Terriers; but that was to be expected, and the way Town had dealt with the Champions' pressure had been nothing short of tremendous.

As the Sky Blue half of Manchester pushed to cap off the trophy-lifting showpiece with victory, substitute Benjamin Mendy struck an absolute gem of a left-footed effort 20-yards out which luckily whistled inches the wrong side of the upright.

Four minutes added on; four minutes to hold on for a priceless point. It may well have been even better with a double of superb chances right at the death.

Firstly Scott Malone - on as a replacement late in the period, making his 250th league appearance in England - evaded capture from Kyle Walker before continuing to bear down on goal unchallenged. The left-back could only crack straight at Ederson, with a follow-up attempt also thumped away as a result of the Brazilian's strong wrists.

Laurent Depoitre also found himself free in the box, but the Belgian's foot adjustment couldn't fashion a shooting chance.

Nevertheless, the failure to put away one of the chances wouldn't prove too costly as Town saw the game out to claim what could turn out to be one of the most important points of the campaign as the season draws to a close.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (5-3-2):
Jonas Lössl; Chris Löwe (Scott Malone, 77'), Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Tommy Smith; Aaron Mooy, Jonathan Hogg, Florent Hadergjonaj; Alex Pritchard (Rajiv van La Parra, 82'), Steve Mounié (Laurent Depoitre, 59')

UNUSED SUBS:
Joel Coleman, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Philip Billing, Collin Quaner

MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3):
Ederson; Fabian Delph (Benjamin Mendy, 57'), Nicolás Otamendi, John Stones (Bernardo Silva, 73'), Kyle Walker; Kevin De Bruyne (İlkay Gündoğan, 68'), David Silva (c), Fernandinho; Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling

UNUSED SUBS:
Claudio Bravo, Aymeric Laporte, Yaya Toure, Phil Foden

REFEREE:
Mike Dean


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