Abuja - Kelechi Iheanacho on Sunday, scored a much needed equalizer for Manchester City as they returned to the summit of the English Premier League (EPL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match played at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, had 54,000 spectators in attendance.
City lacked aggression and tempo in the opening 45 minutes, allowing an organised Southampton side to contain them and then burst forward on the break.
It was thus not surprising that the visitors took the lead in the 27th minute after John Stones’ sloppy pass allowed Nathan Redmond to round Claudio Bravo and slot in.
City improved after being booed off by some home fans at the break.
Pep Guardiola had to act, and he did that decisively in the 46th minute, introducing young striker Iheanacho in place of Kevin de Bruyne, City’s stand-out performer this season.
The master tactician’s move paid off in the 55th minute as Iheanacho swept in Leroy Sane’s square ball after the midfielder was found with a brilliant long ball from Fernandinho.
Iheanacho showed purpose and drive as he beat Saints defender Virgil van Dijk to Sane’s cross and prod in the equaliser.
NAN also reports that the goal was Iheanacho’s fourth in seven games played for Manchester City.
Guardiola’s side controlled the second half as they searched for a winner, but Saints keeper Fraser Forster produced splendid saves to deny Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva.
City’s inability to grab a second goal meant ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola had failed to win in five successive matches for only the second time in his managerial career.
However, the point was still enough to lift the Blues back above Arsenal and Liverpool to the Premier League summit.
Southampton stay eighth after extending their unbeaten league runs to a fifth game.
Southampton manager Claude Puel speaking to reporters after the match said: “I am satisfied and happy for my players. We defended well.”
“It is an interesting point; we can see a good solidarity for our team, good spirit and good organisation.
“We played with just two days recovery after the Inter Milan match, which is difficult and we finished the game tired. It is a good point,” he said.
The second match of Super Sunday saw Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United humbled 4-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
It only took 21 minutes for Rodriguez Pedro and Gary Cahill to spoil Jose Mourinho’s home coming, while second half goals from Hazard and Kante completed the rout.
Pedro found himself in a one-on-one situation with only the goal keeper Dea Gea after a pin-point cross from Nemanja Matic puts in a cross.
Pedro made no mistake as he cleverly rounded the keeper to score inside the first minute and put Chelsea in front.
Cahill smashed in the second from close range in the 21st minute after Eden Hazard swung in a corner from the right which Ander Herrera failed to clear.
Hazard turned from provider to goal scorer in the 61st minute after Nemanja Matic played a through ball behind the visitors’ defence.
Hazard kept his calm and dribbled past two defenders before placing the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
N’Golo Kante added a fourth goal for Chelsea after he ghosts past the Manchester United Defence once again to place the ball with a great finish into the bottom in the 70th minute.
Victor Moses, who played for 90 minutes, was excellent as he helped his team in the defence.
He also made incursions into the opponent’s defence and came close to adding his name on the score sheet on several occasions.
As the game wound down, Mourinho had his name ringing out from the rafters of Stamford Bridge but it was more in jest than respect to him as Antonio Conte urged the fans to cheer on.
NAN reports that this was Mourinho’s heaviest defeat as a Premier League manager and it came at a place where it really hurt.
It was also the second time in a Premier League game that he had seen his side conceded four or more goals.
The other was a 5-3 defeat at Spurs in January 2015.