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Full-time: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City

  • Sergio Aguero scored the opening goal, his 100th strike in the Premier League.
  • Vurnon Anita netted a brilliant equaliser in the first-half.
  • Newcastle remain in the relegation zone.
City players celebrate the opening goal
City players celebrate the opening goal Getty Images

Full-time: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City

A potentially valuable point for Newcastle, who produced a spirited display after City took the lead through Sergio Aguero. The second-half fizzled out in truth, but the Magpies certainly showed plenty of fight. A draw was a fair result in the end.

Rafa rolls the dice for the final time. Around two minutes left in this game.

There will be five minutes of added time.

Wijnaldum goes so close to scoring a season-changing goal. The Dutchman takes advantage of some lax defending and dribbles through on goal, but his right-footed shot is saved by Joe Hart and City survive.

The home fans were ready to explode, there.

This second half has been a bit of a damp squib, to be honest. But with the last few minutes, there is scope for a grandstand finish.

Kevin de Bruyne (centre) under pressure
Kevin de Bruyne under pressure Getty Images

Another substitution for City - Wilfried Bony replaces Jesus Navas, who has drifted out of the game.

Five minutes left at St James' Park now.

Rafael Benitez is a picture of tension down on the touchline. He is urging his players to run in every direction, moving his hands around like a madman. The Spaniard knows how crucial these next few moments could be.

Gini Wijnaldum is preparing to come on for Newcastle. Can the Dutchman make a hero of himself in the closing moments? We're about to find out.

Another good effort from City. Darlow does well to beat away a de Bruyne shot from distance and the Magpies survive.

The home crowd breathes a big sigh of relief. A goal either way could be crucial in the context of Newcastle's season.

Manuel Pellegrini watches on
Manuel Pellegrini watches on Getty Images

Another change for City... Fernandinho replaces Yaya Toure, who has been subdued for City tonight and may be playing one of his last games for the club. A few seasons ago, it would have been unheard of for Toure to be replaced with City chasing a winning goal.

There are just 20 minutes left at St James' Park now - the next goal could be the winner. Newcastle, fighting for the lives, will give anything for a match-clinching effort. They won't care how it comes, either.

Ah, here we go. Not before time, too. Raheem Sterling replaces Fabian Delph.

Another good chance for Agüero but Darlow makes the save and gathers at the second attempt. Newcastle survive once again, but only just.

Still no sign of Sterling - surely now is the perfect time to introduce the England man, with Newcastle bound to tire in the closing stages.

Aguero thinks he should have a penalty
Aguero thinks he should have a penalty Getty Images

Zabaleta comes to City's rescue, when it appears certain Newcastle will take the lead. Andros Townsend makes a neat break up the right side and chips the ball to the back post where Mitrovic was waiting to head home.

Thankfully for the away side, the Argentine timed his jump perfectly and managed to knock it behind for a corner. Rafa was waiting to celebrate...

Meanwhile, City are eyeing a change of their own and it's one we have been expecting. Raheem Sterling is going through a serious warm-up on the touchline.

He might replace Jesus Navas, who has picked up a little knock.

And he does... Rafa has seen enough.

Jesus Navas makes an incisive break down the right side and looks to have given City the lead. But the keeper makes a cracking save, pushing the ball just wide of the post. Navas can barely believe it.

It's all City for the moment, though. Rafael Benitez needs to make a tactical switch...

Fernando wins the ball back for City
Fernando wins the ball back for City Getty Images

City are piling on the pressure in the opening minutes of this half. They are launching wave after wave of attack, and the Newcastle defence is being stretched to its very limit.

City and Sergio Aguero have a huge penalty appeal waved away. The Argentine collected a cross from the right and turned in the box. Just as he loaded up to shoot at goal, he was tackle/fouled - depending on your viewpoint - by a Newcastle defender.

Aguero sits on the ground, staring at the floor. He's not happy with the ref.

Manuel Pellegrini on the touchline
Manuel Pellegrini on the touchline Getty Images

Cheick Tioté is needing treatment at the moment. He's gone down under a heavy challenge and might not be able to continue.

After some treatment from the physico, Tiote is back with us now.

We're under way in the second half. A potentially pivotal 45 minutes in Newcastle's history awaits.

Half-time: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City

A fascinating 45 minutes of football, that. City took the lead through the in-form Sergio Aguero and appeared to be coasting towards an easy victory in the early stages.

But out of nowhere, the Magpies got an equaliser through Vurnon Anita, who bagged a beautiful solo goal. It's all to play for the second half in this eye-catching contest.

Anita has gone into the ref's notebook, by the way. The Dutchman took out Aleksandar Kolarov as he looked to lead a counter-attack. That's called taking one for the team, because Kolarov had clear space ahead of him.

Darlow celebrates Newcastle's goal
Darlow celebrates Newcastle's goal Getty Images

There's no doubt that City are playing the better football for the most part, but Newcastle definitely pose a threat through the likes of Cisse and Perez. Kompany, Mangala et al. have certainly got a battle on their hands now.

Vurnon Anita finds the net
Vurnon Anita finds the net Getty Images

Less than ten minutes to go until the break now - this game is bubbling up nicely. City appeared to have things all their own way until that thrilling goal from Anita.

Can the away side reassert their dominance?

Jesus Navas shows some trickery
Jesus Navas shows some trickery Getty Images

GOAL: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City (Anita)

Vurnon Anita has got Newcastle back in this match with a brilliant individual goal. The Dutchman makes a mazy run down the right side. He cuts inside and finds a pinpoint finish which grazes Joe Hart's fingertips and goes in via the post.

St James' Park is bouncing once again!

First opening of the game for Newcastle, as Moussa Sissoko making an eye-catching break and finds himself one-on-one with Joe Hart. Unfortunately for the Magpies, his effort is straight at the keeper.

Eliaquim Mangala on the ball for City
Eliaquim Mangala on the ball for City Getty Images

For all of their huffing and puffing, Newcastle have barely posed a threat to the City goal.

Vincent Kompany has been allowed to ease himself back into first-team action without too many problems so far. It has been a surprisingly comfortable return for the skipper.

City players celebrate the opening goal
City players celebrate the opening goal Getty Images

De Bruyne almost makes it two! The Belgian latches on to a loose pass and dribbles towards goal, but his right-footed effort just sails past the upright. City, to their credit, are going for this full throttle - no signs they have their eyes on the Champions League tie.

Jesus Navas (right) chases after the ball
Jesus Navas (right) chases after the ball Getty Images

Replays have shown Aguero was marginally offside when the freekick was taken. Rafael Benitez, meanwhile, is sure to be furious that the diminutive Argentine was able to win the header in the first place.

It's an uphill battle for Newcastle, now.

Sergio Aguero heads in
Sergio Aguero heads in Getty Images

GOAL: Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester City (Aguero)

The away side lead and unsurprisingly, it is Sergio Aguero with the goal. The in-form Argentine gets his head on a freekick from the left side and the ball races past Darlow and into the net.

That means Sergio has joined the Premier League 100 club.

Jesus Navas has seen plenty of the ball in the opening stages, but the Spaniard has not found a killer final pass just yet.

In fact, Newcastle almost appear happy for him to have the ball, perhaps suggesting they don't rate him as highly as City's other attacking threats.

Jesus Navas on the ball
Jesus Navas on the ball Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne has made a lively start to the match, continuing his good form from the weekend, when he excelled against Chelsea.

The Belgian has been central to most of the away side's best work in the opening moments, and City certainly look up for this game in the opening moments. No signs of them resting on their laurels.

Already, the game is surprisingly stretched, with both teams apparently committed to looking for goals. You'd think that approach would suit City, who have some of the league's top attacking talents in their ranks.

Moments later it is Newcastle who are on the attack, led by Andros Townsend. The England man crosses and Cissé heads just over the crossbar. An end-to-end start to the game, which is promising.

Rafael Benitez watches from the sidelines
Rafael Benitez watches from the sidelines Getty Images

First break of the game comes through Jesus Navas, who makes a swift move up the right side and looks to cut the ball back.

However, the Spaniard cannot find a teammate and the Newcastle defence just about managed to scramble the ball clear. An early warning for the hosts, though.

We're under way at St James' Park. Both team are wearing their traditional colours.

The players are in the tunnel, waiting to walk out onto the field. Vincent Kompany will be leading out the City team for the first time in a few weeks.

He looks focused at the head of the City line-up. Kick off is moments away in this crunch fixture.

Newcastle fans before kick off
Newcastle fans before kick off Getty Images

Pre-match thoughts...

Manuel Pellegrini: "It is very important [to have Vincent Kompany back]. Important for the team because he is the captain.

"We need to play two more games before the semi-final of the Champions League and the best way to arrive into that is to be playing well. We did so against Chelsea.

"When you have all of your best players playing together it improves the performance. For the moment, we have won the Capital One Cup, are in the top four and are in the Champions League so it is not a bad season."

Sergio Aguero before kick off
Sergio Aguero before kick off Getty Images

The teams are out on the pitch going through their last-minute preparations. City, surely, must have one eye on their Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

For Sergio Aguero, though, there is the incentive of scoring his 100th Premier League goal in one of the biggest grounds in the country. He was sensational against Chelsea at the weekend.

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is in top form at the moment AFP

Match stats

  • Manchester City have won the past 12 Premier League meetings.
  • Pellegrini's side have scored 23 goals in their past six Premier League matches against Newcastle.
Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure is in the City side tonight AFP

For Newcastle, tonight's game is a huge opportunity for them to lift themselves above Norwich in the table.

A win would be a bonus for Rafael Benitez, but anything from this match may transpire to be the difference in their relegation scrap. What's more, they will be cheered on by the vocal home supporters, who are sure to give their team all the backing they could ask for.

Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez is looking to lead Newcastle to safety Reuters

City will, of course, be glad to have Kompany back in the ranks. Despite his recent injury problems he remains a reassuring presence in their team.

They'll be pleased, too, that Raheem Sterling is fit enough to make the bench - he might well make an appearance later in the game. We're just over half an hour from kick off at St James' Park.

Breaking team news:

The Newcastle side is in, too. It is as follows:

Newcastle United: Darlow, Anita, Mbema, Lascelles, Dummett, Townsend, Tiote, Colback, Sissoko, Perez, Cisse

Subs: Woodman, Saivet, Shelvey, Wijnaldum, Aarons, De Jong, Mitrovic

That means just one change for the Magpies: Ayoze Perez starts instead of Georginio Wijnaldum.

Breaking team news:

As speculated, Vincent Kompany has been returned to the starting line-up by City boss Manuel Pellegrini. Tonight promises to be a really good test of the Belgian's fitness ahead of the Champions League.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Mangala, Kompany (C), Kolarov, Fernando, Delph, Toure, Navas, De Bruyne, Aguero

Subs: Caballero, Iheanacho, Bony, Fernandinho, Sterling, Otamendi, Demichelis

Manuel Pellegrini and Vinceent Kompany
Kompany is returned to the starting line-up Getty Images

In case you missed the news earlier this week, Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed Vincent Kompany and Raheem Sterling are both available for selection after injury.

We'll have to wait to see if either of them are picked by the City boss for tonight's game, in preparation for the tie against Real Madrid. Team news is moments away, so sit tight.

Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany has been out for weeks Getty Images

We're waiting for the team news to drop in the coming minutes. It'll be interesting to see if Manuel Pellegrini opts to rest/rotate his squad in anticipation of the Champions League semi-final first leg next week.

Team form

Newcastle United

  • Last five: W L L D L
  • Last result: Newcastle United 3-0 Swansea City

Manchester City

  • Last five: W W W D W
  • Last result: Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City
Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has scored 99 goals in the Premier League so far Getty

What the manager says:

Rafael Benitez: "I think they have an eye on the Champions League and hopefully we can take advantage. In the back of your head you are thinking about a semi-final or a final and if you are going to get an injury.

"They are professionals and they will try to win but in the back of their mind they won't want to miss a game through injury."

Manuel Pellegrini: "The mathematical reason why we are not challenging for the title is because we lost three games in a row in the beginning of February. I hope we can continue playing the same way we did last Saturday, being an aggressive team and trying to win from the beginning.

"If we continue playing that way it doesn't matter who we play but we know we will have a difficult game. They need all the points to try not to be relegated."

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini Getty Images


Just when it seemed like Rafael Benitez's men were destined for the drop, they came to life beating Swansea 3-0 in their last game.

It was only the second clean sheet that Newcastle have managed in their last eighteen outings.

With 28 points from 33 games and five games to go, the Magpies will have to win all their games to avoid relegation.

Andros Townsend added a late goal
Andros Townsend scored for Newcastle at the weekend Getty Images

Good evening and welcome to IBTimes UK's live coverage of this potentially pivotal fixture between relegation-threatened Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James' Park.

These two teams sit at either end of the table, but with Newcastle scrapping for their lives in the Premier League, it promises to be a very interesting encounter.

Can Rafael Benitez's side spring a surprise? Do Manchester City already have their eyes on the Champions League semi-finals? The answer to those questions, as well as the all-important team news, will come your way soon.

rafael benitez
Rafael Benitez was recently appointed as the Newcastle manager Getty