Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Chelsea take control after City's draw

Published:Sunday | January 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM
AP Newcastle United's Ayoza Perez (right) falls under the challenge of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London, yesterday. Chelsea won 2 - 0.

LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Manchester City lost ground to Chelsea in the Premier League title race after dropping points against a determined Everton with a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park yesterday.

Manuel Pellegrini's side was far from its best and, even the return from injury of leading scorer Sergio Aguero as a second-half substitute, could not get the defending champions over the line.

Fernandinho put City in front in the 74th minute but Steven Naismith's glancing header shortly afterwards earned a deserved draw for the hosts.

City certainly missed the commanding presence of Yaya Toure, on African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast, and have not won a match in which he has been absent for almost exactly 12 months.

While the neat passing was still there, City could have done with the Ivorian driving through from midfield to give Everton another dimension to worry about.

But the home side dug in, despite the odd scare, to end a run of four successive league defeats.

UNBEATEN IN 14 MATCHES

City are unbeaten in 14 matches, which include nine wins and three draws, but trail Chelsea by two points at the top of the league - 49 to 47. Chelsea beat Newcastle 2-0 yesterday.

Everton's Phil Jagielka allowed Muhamed Besic's pass to bounce off him straight to David Silva, whose probing and movement was an isolated example of quality, but Navas fired wide.

Stevan Jovetic failed to hit the target from three separate chances but it was only Besic's last-ditch tackle which denied Silva a shooting opportunity after City counter-attacked from an Everton corner.

The closest either side came to scoring was just before the break when Joe Hart came out quickly to block Romelu Lukaku's shot, and Seamus Coleman hammered the rebound against the crossbar from distance.

Aguero replaced Jovetic in the 67th minute but his first effort was a tentative one, volleying wide from outside the area, by which time Everton had already had a goal by Jagielka ruled out for offside against Steven Naismith.

Lukaku dithered on the edge of City's penalty area and, when he was dispossessed by Pablo Zabaleta, a quick transfer downfield saw Fernandinho nod home Silva's deflected shot from close range.

Everyone assumed that would be that but City have shown vulnerability when ahead before. Everton's determination was rewarded four minutes later when Naismith got to Leighton Baines' free kick before Hart to glance a header into the empty net.