Manchester City had to come back from two goals down despite taking an early lead against Newcastle United, leaving St. James Park with a solitary point after a tough clash on Sunday (21 August).
Pep Guardiola’s men were clear favourites on Tyneside after securing back-to-back wins in their opening two games of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, but the Magpies had other ideas.
Eddie Howe’s men found themselves a goal behind just five minutes into the game as Ilkay Gundogan pounced on a beautiful chip from Bernardo Silva to put his strike beyond Nick Pope’s reach.
Man City’s early lead acted as a much-needed catalyst as Newcastle put up a good fight, with Allan Saint-Maximin causing Kyle Walker all sorts of problems down the left wing.
The Frenchman continually bamboozled the England international right-back and whosoever cared to assist him with defensive duties, and a fine cross from him found Miguel Almiron.
The Paraguayan had to score with his chest, and despite the linesman’s offside flag, it counted after checks and helped draw the hosts level in the 28th minute.
Newcastle were inspired afterwards, and just 11 minutes later, Callum Wilson put them in front.
Again, it was Saint-Maximin who provided the assist, and despite finding themselves just two-against-five, the Toons duo combined well to get a much-deserved goal that sent SJP into a frenzy.
Man City started the second half well, with Erling Haaland coming close to getting them back on level terms.
However, the Norwegian striker’s effort could only hit the upright.
Just a few minutes later, Newcastle won a free-kick outside the visitors’ box after ASM was brought down by John Stones, and Kieran Trippier did a fine job to put the deadball beyond Ederson’s reach, handing his side a two-goal lead.
On the final day of last season, Guardiola‘s men came back from two goals down against Aston Villa, eventually winning 3-2 to win Premier League title, and they summoned that same fighting spirit against Newcastle.
Six minutes after Trippier’s goal, Haaland halved the hosts’ deficit, and Silva helped them complete the comeback four minutes later.
With 26 minutes still remaining on the clock, Man City attempted to find the winner, but the much-improved Magpies’ defence kept them at bay, with both teams settling for a hard-fought point.
A major talking point from the game was Trippier’s rescinded red card.
Australian referee Jarred Gillett had shown the Newcastle star his marching orders after a malicious knee-high trip to stop Kevin De Bruyne dead in his tracks on a counterattack, but he changed his decision to a yellow card after checking the VAR pitchside monitor for replays.
Guardiola was happy with the point given the circumstances, but the Spaniard would have been pleased to maintain a 100% start to the new season.
He told the BBC after the game:
“Proper football game. We started really well. We lost some duels and they could run. Once the game was open they were better for 20 minutes.
“The team showed who we are.
“Allan Saint-Maximin is really dangerous.
“We should take more time in the final third.”
He later added:
“Newcastle are becoming one of the toughest opponents for sure.
“Leeds beat Chelsea. The Premier League is so difficult for everyone. It shows how amazing we’ve done for five years and how difficult it will be.
“To see the team fight to the end is enough – it was a proper football game.
“That atmosphere after the game, that is what football is all about.”
An impressed Howe said:
“It was an incredible game and a rollercoaster of emotions. We went 1-0 down – which is the worst possible start against this team because then you have to chase the game, but the players responded brilliantly.
“For the neutral, I’m sure it was an incredible game but we needed something from the game and the players deserved it.
“It was mentally tiring because I was trying to help the team when you know the game has swung in their balance but you also don’t want to do something that harms us as well.
“Hopefully everyone is entertained.”