Manchester City 2 Newcastle United 1
- Kevin Friend
Newcastle United slipped to a third 2-1 defeat in four Premier League outings as Kyle Walker’s second-half strike proved decisive for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Magpies got off to a shaky start against the Premier League’s reigning champions and found themselves trailing less than ten minutes in, Raheem Sterling breaking the deadlock with a rasping low drive.
Having weathered something of a storm, Rafa Benítez’s side restored parity through DeAndre Yedlin, who applied the finishing touch to Salomón Rondón’s centre to register his first goal in the English top flight.
Newcastle improved after drawing level and looked to have tightened up, but Walker’s fizzing strike from range found the far corner and condemned the Magpies to a fourth successive loss at the Etihad.
City had already fired a warning shot before Sterling opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Fernandinho picked out Riyad Mahrez’s run with a ball through the middle, and the former Leicester City winger stepped back inside before drilling wide of the near post.
A breakthrough was not long in coming, though. Jamaal Lascelles – back in the United side after a two-game absence through injury – conceded possession to Benjamin Mendy in a dangerous area. The Frenchman slid the ball to Sterling, who cut in from the left flank and fired powerfully into the far corner of the net.
There was no let-up from the home side, who continued to dominate. Sergio Agüero – looking to keep up his rich vein of goalscoring form against Newcastle – curled just wide from 20 yards, before Gabriel Jesus saw a low-struck effort saved by Martin Dúbravka after skipping past Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernández.
But, completely against the run of play, United equalised on the half-hour mark. Kenedy took down a lofted ball 20 yards out, and picked out Rondón on the left. The Venezuelan frontman then fired in a low cross to the back post, which Yedlin – having powered forward from his position on the right of defence – slid in to convert. Buoyed by their leveller, the Magpies shored up after that, and looked relatively comfortable leading up to the break.
The second half started in similar manner. As might have been expected, City came out with a little more urgency, but they struggled to penetrate the Magpies’ backline. David Silva fired a 20-yard free kick straight into the wall, before Mahrez – picking up the pieces – failed to test Dúbravka after taking a touch to set himself.
But, out of nothing, Pep Guardiola’s side restored their lead after 52 minutes. Sterling found Agüero just outside the penalty area, and the Argentine rolled the ball back for Walker 25 yards out. The England international took a stride forward, and – with no one closing him down – let fly with a thunderous low shot, which flew past the helpless Dúbravka and into the far corner.
Midway through the half, the Magpies’ Slovakian ‘keeper pulled off a superb triple-save to deny two City players. After getting down low to deny Fernandinho, Dúbravka got back to his feet to block Silva’s first-time strike, and then thwarted the Spaniard for a second time with United’s defenders struggling to get the ball clear.
Without necessarily looking likely to add to their advantage, City started to control the game once more. Silva nodded a searching Mahrez ball wide at the back post, before Sterling took aim again after a flowing move, failing to keep a left-footed attempt on target after meeting the Spaniard’s dinked pass.
Though substitute Joselu brought Ederson into action with a late deflected strike, a second equaliser proved beyond Newcastle, who head into the first international break of the campaign without a win to their name in any competition so far.