Published: 22:42 | 18/1/20

Guardiola rues "wrong decision" as Palace snatch late leveler

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola rued a "wrong decision" that enabled Crystal Palace to score a stoppage time leveler in a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

City thought they had rescued victory from the jaws of defeat with two Sergio Aguero goals in the final ten minutes after trailing to a first-half Cenk Tosun strike. But in the final minute of normal time Wilfried Zaha was allowed to run unchallenged down the left before Fernandinho turned his cross into his own net.

"At 2-1 it's just not allowed that Zaha runs," said Guardiola. "It is simple, but we allowed them and after we conceded the goal.

"It was a decision, The concentration is always there, it was a wrong decision.

"We are going to solve it and improve it. In that position we have to have the back four there and not let them run.

"It's simple. In this situation we cannot let them run."

The draw means that the back-to-back champions are now 13 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, who also have two games in hand. 

City dominated with 72 per cent possession and had 25 shots compared to just five from the visitors, but only six of them were on target and they were largely held at arms length by a well-organised Eagles side.

The Cityzens have now conceded 12 home league goals this term - the total for the whole of the last campaign - falling behind when Gary Cahill outjumped John Stones at the back post and Everton loanee Tosun prodded home.

Guardiola looked increasingly frustrated on the touchline as the second-half drew on but Aguero appeared to ensure he would have a happy 49th birthday by notching his 250th City goal from a Gabriel Jesus cross and then turning home a Benjamin Mendy pass.

The Spaniard's mood darkened just minutes later, however, when Fernandinho got to a Zaha cross before Connor Wickham but could only divert the ball past Ederson.

Guardiola added: "We did everything to win the game and unfortunately in the end we lost two points because we could not stop the counter attack.

"But we have to continue, there are still a lot of games to play. We have to try to secure the place for the Champions League next season."

Palace extend their unbeaten run to five games with a point that takes them into the top half of the table."

By Russell Stoddart

Image: Getty Images

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