Newcastle United 2 Manchester City 1: Champion suffers shock loss to spoil Guardiola's landmark

Pep Guardiola's 100th Premier League game in charge of Manchester City ended in disappointment as its title bid suffered a major blow.

Matt Ritchie's penalty turned out to be the winning goal for Newcastle United.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City suffered a shock loss in defence of its Premier League title as Newcastle United came from behind to win 2-1 at St James' Park. Matt Ritchie's penalty 10 minutes from time sealed one of the most surprising results of the season to leave Liverpool with the chance to move seven points clear with a victory over Leicester City on Wednesday.

Sergio Aguero looked to have set a predictable tone for Pep Guardiola's 100th top-flight game at the helm, his goal after 24 seconds apparently teeing the Catalan up for a record 74th win from a century of outings. But City failed to build on that fast start and the host levelled through Salomon Rondon with 24 minutes remaining.

And when Fernandinho fouled Sean Longstaff in the box, Ritchie stepped up to drive his spot-kick underneath Ederson in what could be a pivotal blow in the title race.

With City having taken 46 points from the last 48 available against the Magpies, Rafael Benitez may well have hoped just to keep things tight early on. Any such plans were shattered before he even had the chance to warm his seat. David Silva stumbled into Raheem Sterling's cross, diverting the ball into Aguero's path for the striker to volley home his 15th goal in 13 top-flight outings against Newcastle.

Salomon Rondon equalized for Newcastle United with 24 minutes to play.   -  Reuters

 

Aguero was celebrating a second in the 18th minute, but referee Paul Tierney ruled that Kevin De Bruyne was a little too eager in executing a quickly taken free-kick and booked the Belgium midfielder.

To its credit, Newcastle held firm for the remainder of the first half, although Florian Lejeune had to be alert to block Silva's shot on the line. Sterling came within a whisker of doubling the lead early in the second half but allowed Leroy Sane's cross to go through his legs, while Silva stung Martin Dubravka's palms.

Then came the unexpected revival as Rondon, who had cut an isolated figure, sprung to life to lash home after City was caught napping by Isaac Hayden's header over the top.

Ritchie calmly converted from the spot and City could not muster a meaningful response, leaving Liverpool with a golden opportunity to put one hand on a maiden Premier League trophy triumph.

What does it mean? They think it's all over...

Guardiola conceded that his City side could ill-afford to drop any more points in order to retain its crown. Even if it should now win all its remaining 14 games, City would fall short of the 100 points it achieved last season. The title may already have been Liverpool's to lose, but it would have to throw it away now.

Pep Guardiola's 100th match in charge of Manchester City ended in defeat.   -  AFP

 

Benitez the mastermind

All the talk will be about City losing, but Newcastle won this game fair and square and it did it despite going behind so early on. It stuck to the game plan, stayed in the contest and picked its moments. Credit has to go to the Newcastle boss for pulling this one off.

Fernandinho flounders

He has been so important to City, and Guardiola has acknowledged as much, but Fernandinho's moment of madness in conceding the penalty could be the act that ended his side's bid for glory.

Key Opta facts
- Newcastle has beaten Manchester City in a Premier League game for the first time since September 2005, ending a run of 22 meetings without a win (D3 L19).
- Only Jose Mourinho (W73 D18 L9 – 237 points) picked up more points than Guardiola (W73 D15 L12 – 234 points) in his first 100 games in England's top flight.
- Newcastle has now won five of its past seven home Premier League matches against sides starting the day in the top two (L2).
- Manchester City has now dropped 16 points in its 24 Premier League games this season, having drawn twice and lost four times; already more than they dropped in the entirety of 2017-18 (14 – D4, L2).
- City has lost three games in which it has been ahead in the Premier League this season, its most in a single campaign since 2008-09 (four).
- Aguero's goal after 24 seconds was the earliest goal scored in this season's Premier League and the fastest Manchester City has scored since Jesus Navas netted after 13 seconds against Tottenham in November 2013.
- All 30 of Salomon Rondon’s Premier League goals have been scored from inside the box – of current Premier League players, only Javier Hernandez (49) has netted more, with 100 per cent being from inside the area.

 

What's next?

City will lick its wounds before hosting Arsenal on Sunday, having won 2-0 in north London on the opening weekend of the campaign, while Newcastle heads to Wembley to face Tottenham the day before.