City held in controversial Stoke draw

Blackpool Citizen: Debutant Javi Garcia scored Manchester City's equaliser at Stoke Debutant Javi Garcia scored Manchester City's equaliser at Stoke

Asmir Begovic made a stunning late save and Ryan Shawcross cleared off the line as Stoke clung on for a controversial 1-1 draw against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

Peter Crouch gave the hosts an early lead at the Britannia Stadium despite a suspicion of handball but Javi Garcia marked his City debut by equalising before the break with a free header.

Garcia almost snatched a last-minute winner but Begovic pushed his header from a corner onto the post and Shawcross chased back after Edin Dzeko lobbed the goalkeeper in injury time. It meant a fourth consecutive 1-1 draw in this fixture and Stoke's fourth draw of the season.

Robert Huth cleared Scott Sinclair's early cross and Carlos Tevez's shot was deflected wide as City started brightly. But Stoke went ahead after 15 minutes when Crouch benefited from a touch with the hand as he controlled a Jon Walters cross and turned Joleon Lescott before neatly tucking the ball away.

City looked for a response and Mario Balotelli wrong-footed the defence but clipped a well-struck effort over the bar.

Yaya Toure's long-range free-kick was wayward but City's equaliser came from another dead ball after 35 minutes.

Garcia netted a free header from Tevez's curling cross, with his marker Charlie Adam seemingly impeded by team-mate Marc Wilson.

Maicon forced Begovic to tip around the post but it was Stoke who started the second half positively. Crouch sought to recreate his spectacular goal in last season's fixture as he flicked up the ball outside the box but this time he miscued his volley.

Toure brought a superb save out of Begovic after Shawcross cut out his through-ball meant for Sinclair. Samir Nasri turned in the area and went down under pressure but nothing was given. The Frenchman then stung the palms of Begovic with an 18-yard effort.

In a frantic finish, Garcia was denied brilliantly by Begovic and Shawcross did equally well to prevent Dzeko snatching victory.

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