Manchester City have been held to a 2-2 draw by Tottenham Hotspur after an intervention from VAR ruled out what had appeared to be Gabriel Jesus’s last-gasp winner at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite being outclassed by City for much of the game, Spurs had twice come from behind as goals from Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura – 19 seconds after his introduction – cancelled out efforts from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.
Jesus thought that he had earned City a deserved three points when firing home in the second minute of added-on time, only for VAR to rule that Aymeric Laporte had handled the ball in the build-up.
City wasted no time in penning Spurs back into their own defensive third during the early stages, although the home side’s only effort of any note was a goalbound strike from Sterling which was well blocked by Kyle Walker-Peters.
The reigning champions could have been handed a spot kick soon afterwards when Erik Lamela hauled down Rodri from a corner, but neither the referee or VAR deemed that an offence had been committed.
However, it was not long before City had their first goal. A superb deep cross from Kevin De Bruyne found Sterling on his own at the back post, and the winger kept his composure to send a header into the far corner of the net.
There were signs that City could quickly double their advantage but completely against the run of play, Spurs found an equaliser three minutes later with Lamela curling a low effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Rather than knock City out of their rhythm, there was an increase sense of urgency in Pep Guardiola’s side, and it came as no surprise when they regained the lead 10 minutes before the break.
De Bruyne was again the creator – this time from the byline – and Aguero had the relatively simple task of converting from inside the six-yard box after getting in front of his marker.
Ilkay Gundogan was the next player to benefit from the vision of De Bruyne, but the German failed to hit the target from 12 yards out when it appeared easier to at least test Hugo Lloris.
City picked up where they had left off once the game had restarted, with Oleksandr Zinchenko having a long-range strike well kept out by Lloris, and each of De Bruyne and Aguero firing off target from promising positions.
Bernardo Silva then hit the crossbar from close range with Lloris collecting the rebound, and the fourth opportunity in quick succession led to Mauricio Pochettino introducing Lucas Moura for Harry Winks.
The substitution brought instant success as Moura advanced into the area to get ahead of Kyle Walker, rising above the right-back to power a header into the far corner of Ederson’s net.
City required no invitation to go straight back onto the offensive as Rodri saw a fizzing drive tipped over the crossbar by Lloris, before Nicolas Otamendi had a header hooked away inside the six-yard box.
However, City’s growing momentum was halted midway through the second half as Guardiola substituted Aguero, which resulted in a heated confrontation between the pair as the striker expressed his unhappiness over being withdrawn.
Gabriel Jesus had a couple of opportunities after his introduction, seeing a deflected shot go over the crossbar and a tame header bouncing just wide of the far post.