Goalscorers: Sergio Aguero 1, Salomon Rondon 66, Matt Ritchie 80 PEN
Newcastle United: Martin Dubravka, Jamal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune, Fabian Schar, DeAndre Yedlin, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Christian Atsu (Kenedy 87), Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez (Javi Manquillo 90), Salomon Rondon
Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo (Ilkay Gundogan 83), Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne (Bernardo Silva 65), David Silva, Leroy Sane (Gabriel Jesus 73), Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero
Referee: Paul Tierney, Attendance: 50,861
After a rocky December, Manchester City had been flawless in January and had the opportunity to cut Liverpool FC’s title lead to just a single point as they travelled to Tyneside to play Newcastle United in the midweek set of fixtures.
Newcastle still needed points desperately to climb away from relegation danger and had a miserable record against the Citizens, having not beaten them in the Premier League since 2005. Rafa Benitez’s team made the worst possible start here too, conceding to the visitors inside the first minute.
Raheem Sterling’s cross to the back post found David Silva. The skipper for the night got a slight touch to the ball, eliminating Martin Dubravka from the challenge and allowing Sergio Aguero to score yet again against Newcastle United. Timed at just 24 seconds, it was the quickest goal in the 2018-2019 season at this stage of the campaign and Aguero’s 15th strike against the Magpies in his glorious Premier League career.
Aguero had the ball in the net again shortly afterwards but referee Paul Tierney disallowed it, having not given Kevin De Bruyne permission to take a free-kick. As a result, the Belgian was booked by the referee. With 76% possession, Pep Guardiola’s team controlled the match but failed to capitalise on this domination and Dubravka wasn’t troubled greatly either. He did make one major save though, blocking a shot from David Silva just before the hour mark.
In the 66th minute, City’s casual approach was punished as Newcastle found a way back into the contest. Ayoze Perez won a header on the edge of the penalty area and swiftest to react to the dropping ball was his strike partner, Salomon Rondon. Rondon’s half-volley was struck into the ground, making it more difficult for Ederson to keep out. The match was unexpectedly level and Guardiola’s 100th Premier League match as a manager had taken a turn for the worse.
There was to be no cure either. With 10 minutes left to play, the usually controlled Fernandinho lost possession in his own penalty area. Dispossessed by Sean Longstaff, the Brazilian took drastic action and hauled the local midfielder down. Tierney pointed to the penalty spot and Newcastle had a golden opportunity to end their 22-match winless sequence in the league against City.
The responsibility was left to Matt Ritchie. It wasn’t the cleanest strike but there was enough power to sneak underneath Ederson’s body as he guessed the right way. Ritchie had just blown the title race wide open.
It was Manchester City’s fourth league loss of the season and allowed Liverpool to open up a five-point cushion by the end of the midweek round. However, this was to be the last dropped points of the season for Guardiola’s team. They won all of their remaining 14 league fixtures to retain their Premier League title at the season’s end by a single point from Liverpool.