Newcastle holds Man City 1-1, Aguero reaches 100 EPL goals
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) Newcastle continued its late fight to avoid relegation from the top tier, drawing 1-1 with Manchester City on Tuesday after Sergio Aguero became the second fastest player to score 100 English Premier League goals.
With its title dream effectively over, City was seeking to strengthen its grip on third place and automatic Champions League qualification. It moved a point ahead of Arsenal, and five points in front of Manchester United, with both teams having a game in hand.
Leicester leads with 73 points, 12 more than City, with four games left.
Newcastle will take the most encouragement from its rousing recovery at St. James' Park, despite remaining 19th and now two points from safety. The Magpies rallied against Aguero's 14th-minute disputed opener with Vurnon Anita equalizing in the 31st to grab a point for Rafael Benitez's men.
It was Aguero's 147th league match. Alan Shearer is the fastest player to score 100 EPL goals, managing that feat in 124 matches.
With Vincent Kompany back at the heart of the City defense, the victory Benitez so desperately needed looked a tall order, although Kompany often looked tired.
City enjoyed the greater share of possession - despite Papiss Cisse heading over from an inviting fourth-minute cross from Andros Townsend - and the visitors took the lead in controversial circumstances.
Townsend was aggrieved to have been penalized for his challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov, and his disappointment increased when the Serbia international drilled the resulting free kick to the near post and Aguero rose to glance it past goalkeeper Karl Darlow from an offside position.
Kevin de Bruyne was at the center of most of City's best work as it looked to kill the game off as quickly as possible, although he blazed wastefully wide after Jamaal Lascelles' misplaced 23rd-minute pass.
But Newcastle eventually responded and should have been level six minutes later when skipper Moussa Sissoko ran on to Kolarov's ill-judged pass and burst past Kompany, only to shoot tamely at City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
But the Frenchman did play a key role as the home side equalized 14 minutes before the break. He collected Townsend's pass on the left and floated a crossfield ball out towards Anita, who cushioned it into his path before cutting inside and drilling left-footed past Hart and in off the base of the far post.
''The reaction from the team was so positive,'' Benitez told the BBC. .
Magpies substitute Georginio Wijnaldum might have won it at the death after robbing Kolarov, only to be denied by Hart.