- Resolute Potters claim a thoroughly deserved share of the spoils in front of the live television cameras.
- Saido Berahino makes his first Premier League start for the Club following £12M January arrival.
- Stalemate is the first time City have failed to score at the Etihad Stadium under boss Pep Guardiola.
STOKE CITY claimed a hugely creditable point against title-contenders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening.
Mark Hughes’ side produced defensive heroics to deny Pep Guardiola’s side the spoils they needed to realistically keep alive their slim hopes of pipping runaway leaders Chelsea to the crown.
In fact, the Welshman may even argue that his side created as many opportunities as the hosts, with both Mame Diouf and impressive Egyptian Ramadan going close to breaking the deadlock during the first-half.
As expected there was a response from the hosts after the interval as they began to display more purpose and penetration, but even so they rarely managed to forge a clear sight of Lee Grant’s goal.
As the encounter wore on, and the visitors began to sit deeper, there were more worrying moments for Hughes to contend with on the sidelines.
He watched on anxiously as substitute David Silva clipped an effort millimetres wide of the far post following good interchange with Leroy Sane, before Yaya Toure curled over the bar when well-positioned.
At the other end an incisive breakaway culminated in Saido Berahino, who made his first start for the Club, racing on to a clever flick on by the outstanding Jonathan Walters only for Aleksander Kolarov to block his goal-bound effort.
The hosts regained relative control of the match and went close to snatching the lead through Nicolas Otamendi, who looped a header on to the roof of the net after leaping highest to meet Jesus Navas’ centre.
Both managers utilised the three substitutions available to them with Hughes adding steel and composure to his side in Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Afellay and Giannelli Imbula - a stark contrast to the trio of attacking players Guardiola thrust on in a bid to claim an additional two points.
For all of the home side’s possession Stoke, ushered by SKY's man of the match Ryan Shawcross, looked assured and resolute, although there was a major worry deep into stoppage time when Sane stole an inch on Phil Bardsley inside the six-yard box.
Thankfully, and heroically, the Scotland international readjusted his body to intervene and deny the City forward to space he needed to convert Kevin de Bruyne’s out-swinging centre across the goalmouth.
For Hughes, his players and the travelling contingent of Stoke supporters, they breathed a huge sigh of relief when referee Neil Swarbrick brought a close to the action, thus securing the Potters a result their performance richly deserved.