Manchester City drop points after draw at Fulham

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Manchester City dropped their first English Premier League points of the campaign after squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Fulham on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini’s side appeared on course for victory when Sergio Aguero struck twice inside 46 minutes to take his personal tally to eight goals in his first five Premier league appearances.

But Fulham staged a stirring fightback to recover through goals from Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy.

The draw meant Man City missed the chance to close in on neighbours Manchester United as they beat Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Fulham, meanwhile, claimed their third point of the season thanks to a performance that gave hope to new manager Martin Jol after a difficult start.

The Cottagers were spurred by the added incentive of attempting to haul themselves off the foot of the Premier League table following the previous day’s results.

But after a positive start, Jol’s side quickly found themselves pushed back as City shook off the disappointment of their midweek draw against Napoli in the Champions League and took control of the game.

Mancini’s team has carried a familiar look during the opening weeks of the season and the manager once again left Carlo Tevez on the bench and placed his faith in the attacking quartet of Aguero, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and David Silva.

And once the City forwards clicked into gear, Fulham’s defenders found themselves continually stretched to near breaking point.

They were ahead after 18 minutes when Silva turned provider and Aguero provided the first example of the finishing that has already established him as one of the league’s outstanding strikers.

Gareth Barry played the ball into Silva’s feet and the former Valencia man picked out Aguero who had moved into space just inside the Fulham area.

The home side claimed the Argentine was in an offside position when he received the ball, and television replays suggested they had a case, but Aguero finished easily past Mark Schwarzer to put City in control.

From that point Fulham struggled vainly to gain a foothold in the first half.

Yet for all City’s dominance, Mancini’s side created little in the way of clear opportunities and when they did, found Schwarzer to be in impressive form.

He produced an outstanding reaction save to tip Dzeko’s first time shot over the bar after Silva had set up his team-mate with a well weighted pull back.

Having restricted City to just one goal, Fulham had every right to believe they could force their way back into the game despite having been out-played.

Hope of a recovery seemed to disappear, however, when City doubled their lead within 12 seconds of the restart.

From the kick-off, Silva rolled the ball back to Clichy whose long ball forward was nodded down by Dzeko into the path of Aguero who finished from 20 yards.

Game over, or so City thought. Fulham had other ideas and, with little to lose, finally took the game to City, clawing a goal back through an excellent 55th minute strike from Zamora.

Inspired, Jol’s side pressed for an equaliser and it took an desperate tackle from Micah Richards to deny Clint Dempsey before City keeper Joe Hart was forced to save from Mousa Dembele and then a Dempsey header.

But Jol’s side didn’t have long to wait before completing a stirring recovery with skipper Murphy’s deflected shot finding a way past Hart in the 75th minute.

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