LONDON — Two goals from Sergio Aguero earned Manchester City a point as it twice came from behind in a 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in the Premier League on Saturday.
QPR started the game on the front foot, putting pressure on the City players in torrential rain whenever they were in possession in an attempt to force mistakes.
And striker Charlie Austin had two goals ruled out before giving QPR the lead in the 21st minute. Austin's first was rightly disallowed for offside, as was the second, albeit in unusual circumstances.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart took the resultant free kick from Austin's offside strike, but accidentally kicked the ball twice. The ball landed at Austin's feet and he controlled and scored, but referee Mike Dean disallowed it as rules state players can't have two successive touches from a free kick.
Hart then denied Austin excellently from eight yards, before Austin finally struck. He controlled a smart delivery from Mauricio Isla on the right before swiveling and firing across Hart into the far corner.
It was a deserved lead for Harry Redknapp's side, but the goal sparked City into stepping up its intensity, and the visitors levelled 11 minutes later through Aguero.
He controlled a long pass from Eliaquim Mangala superbly and weaved into space across Steven Caulker before clinically beating QPR goalkeeper Robert Green. The ball appeared to hit Aguero's arm as he kept it under control, but the goal stood.
But while Aguero was spearheading City's charge, Austin was leading QPR's attack just as dangerously in a relentless display of attacking football from both sides.
And Austin was the creator as QPR hauled itself back into the lead in the 76th.
Eduardo Vargas beat Yaya Toure to possession in midfield and picked out Austin, who burst down the right before whipping the ball toward his strike partner Bobby Zamora. Martin Demichelis jostled in front of Zamora and made contact with the ball, but only managed to divert it into his own net.
But City nearly leveled through Aguero a minute later.
He had a shot cleared off the line by former City defender Richard Dunne after the Argentina striker pounced upon a woefully short headed back pass from Joey Barton, before taking the ball around Green.
QPR didn't accept the warning sings, instead looking to increase its advantage in the 80th, when Vargas' brilliant acrobatic kick bounced narrowly wide.
City poured forward looking to equalize, and it arrived in the 83rd. Aguero controlled a pass from Toure, rounded Green yet again and fired in for his 12th goal of the season, with four QPR defenders on the line trying to block his effort.
QPR striker Austin admitted after that he was frustrated at not taking all three points from the game.
"Tonight, we have come off the pitch disappointed at not winning against the champions," Austin said, while Zamora acknowledged his team was unfortunate.
"It is a big point against a very good team. It would have been a great scalp," Zamora said.
Redknapp also believed his team would hold on.
"I really felt at 2-1 we would go on and win the game," the manager said. "When we went 1-0 up, we were well on top and they scored against the run of play. You can't relax when they have got so many quality players in the team."
City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised Aguero's performance, adding he felt his team is in "an unlucky moment.
"Aguero had all of the QPR defense in trouble whenever he had the ball," Pellegrini said. "Again, this team demonstrates we are fighting. We are not playing very well, but had enough chances to win the game."