Man City pays the penalty in 1-1 draw with Everton
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 16, 2016 09:54 AM
Everton's Maarten Stekelenburg, centre, saves a penalty from Manchester City's Sergio Aguero during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — It might be time for Manchester City to start practicing penalties.
Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero had spot kicks saved as City drew 1-1 with Everton in the Premier League on Saturday in the latest stumble by Pep Guardiola's side.
That's four failures from eight attempts from the penalty spot this season for City, with Aguero having spurned two chances in a Champions League qualifier. The striker missed one for Argentina in its loss in South American qualifying on Tuesday, too.
Asked if City practices penalties in training, Guardiola said "no" before adding: "I don't have time to practice everything I want to practice."
It needed a 72nd-minute goal by Nolito, seconds after the Spain forward came on as a substitute, to earn City a point from a game it dominated at Etihad Stadium, with 72 percent possession and 19 shots on goal.
It's the first testing spell of Guardiola's short reign, with this draw coming after a 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League and a 2-0 loss at Tottenham in the Premier League. The team opened the season with 10 straight wins.
"We did absolutely everything," Guardiola said.
Romelu Lukaku, with his sixth goal in his last five games, put Everton in front against the run of play in the 64th by running onto a flick by Yannick Bolasie in central midfield, dribbling past last-man Gael Clichy and burying a low finish.
That was a rare foray forward by the visitors, who defended deeply and tried to hit on the counterattack.
Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg backed up his penalty stops by producing a brilliant save to tip De Bruyne's shot around the post in the last minutes, leading Everton manager Ronald Koeman to say: "Maybe the goalkeeper played his best game ever."
"City are the best team in my managerial career I have played against," Koeman added.
City is now only top of the Premier League on goal difference from Arsenal.
It was a fascinating tactical duel between Guardiola and Koeman, who played together at Barcelona in the early 1990s and were disciples of the Spanish club's then-coach, Johan Cruyff. Koeman was a mentor and roommate to Guardiola in those days, teaching an eager-to-learn youngster about tactics and styles of play.
Now Guardiola's tactical acumen is widely regarded as second to none, and intriguingly he switched to a 3-2-4-1 formation, playing three men in defense for the first time as City manager.
Guardiola also chose to start with Aguero on the bench after the striker's exertions with Argentina over the international break, meaning the team's top scorer wasn't on the field when City was awarded its first penalty in the major incident of the first half, after David Silva was tripped by Phil Jagielka.
De Bruyne replaced Aguero as penalty-taker and his kick was a nice height for Stekelenburg, who parried the ball away diving to his left.
Aguero was on the pitch for 14 minutes when he earned his own penalty, with Jagielka again the Everton player committing the foul. Stekelenburg dived the correct way again, clawing away Aguero's attempt.
By then, Lukaku had put Everton ahead but Nolito, back from a three-match domestic suspension, headed Silva's cross inside the near post for the equalizer.