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Guardiola reacts as Man City miss chance to clinch title with last-gasp defeat to Chelsea

Manchester City missed their chance to wrap up the Premier League title as they slipped to last minute 2-1 loss to Chelsea in what was a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final later this month.

Chelsea had beaten City 1-0 last months FA Cup semi-final, and this one would also turn out to be a tight, tactical battle in the opening stages, with neither posing too much threat in front of goal for large spells of the first half.

 

City would, however, take the lead a minute before the interval, a mistake from Andreas Christensen seeing him beaten to the ball by Gabriel Jesus following a ball down the Chelsea left. The Brazilian unselfishly squared to Sergio Aguero, and while the club-record goalscorer couldn’t get his shot off, Raheem Sterling arrived to take the ball off his toe and fire his side ahead.

Chelsea looked like they were imploding as the game moved into added time, Billy Gilmour bringing down Jesus in the box to hand City the chance to double their lead from the spot. The often reliable Aguero stepped up as he looked to equal Wayne Rooney’s 183 goal record for a single Premier League club, though his tame attempt at a Panenka was comfortably kept out by Edouard Mendy.

The west London side had been camped on the edge of their own box for spells in the first half, but were far better after the interval, and would haul themselves level just after the hour mark. A rare mistake by Spanish midfielder Rodri saw the ball drop to Azpilicueta, the defender picking out Hakim Ziyech on the edge of the box before the Moroccan followed up his FA Cup semi-final winner by firing into the bottom corner.

Chelsea would see a couple of goals ruled out for offside, while City had a decent shout for a penalty turned down, but in the 92nd minute, the visitors would bag themselves a winner.

Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi slipped the ball to Timo Werner down the right, before the German cut it back across the box. Marcos Alonso got there first, and while he scuffed his effort, the spin on the ball took it up and over Ederson who could do little to keep it out.

City still need three points to clinch the title, or a defeat from Manchester United, and speaking after, Pep Guardiola admitted Aguero’s penalty miss was costly.

“It was a tight game, but in general we played really good,” he told Sky Sports. “We miss our chance in last minute of the first half with the penalty.

“They are a top side and we were playing better. We were in a good position but in the end they score.”

Asked about Aguero’s decision to try a Panenka from the spot to give his side, the Catalan said: “It’s his decision. The taker makes his decision. He decided to take it his way, I’ve nothing to add.”

The former Barcelona boss was however more effusive in his answer when asked about Kurt Zouma’s challenge on Raheem Sterling.

“It’s a penalty. That’s all. It happens, it’s football. We will try next time to score our penalty. That’’s all I can say. I saw on the TV it was a penalty.”

Having lost twice to Thomas Tuchel in quick succession, all attentions will be on if the German can make it a hat-trick to claim a maiden Champions League title in Istanbul on May 29th, and Guardiola said he will try to learn from the defeats,

“In 21 days we are going to face them again in the Champions League final. We will learn from that and get the points we need to be champions.”

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