Toure rescues City against Stoke

Mancinis side reclaims top spot on goal difference after 1-1 draw

Yaya Toure's deflected equaliser gave Manchester City a 1-1 draw at Stoke City on Saturday to reclaim top spot in the Premier League but two more away dropped points handed the advantage to Manchester United in the title race.

Manchester City's Yaya Toure celebrates after  scoring against Stoke City in an EPL match on Saturday. AFP

Toure's long-range blast, which deceived ’keeper Asmir Begovic after flicking off Ryan Shawcross, rescued his side after Peter Crouch's magnificent volley had given Stoke a 59th-minute advantage at the Britannia Stadium.

Manchester City joined United on 70 points but edged top on goal difference although the champions will go three points clear if they beat Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday.
City have won all 15 home league games this season but their mediocre away form is threatening to deny them a first top-flight title since 1968.

They have won only two of their last nine on the road and it could have been even worse on Saturday after Crouch stunned them with a contender for goal of the season.
Cushioning a dropping ball on his left foot 30 metres from goal, the out of favour England striker dispatched an unstoppable volley high over the diving Joe Hart.

Manager Roberto Mancini introduced Carlos Tevez from the bench after 73 minutes but it was Toure three minutes later who brought the visitors level when he let fly from 25 metres, his shot glancing off the head of Shawcross before evading Begovic.

Crouch, who scored for Spurs in 2010 to deprive Manchester City of Champions League football the following season, said he hoped his goal would nudge him towards selection for England's Euro 2012 squad.  “It's probably the best goal I've ever scored,” he told ESPN. “I always enjoy a volley but they don't normally fly in like that.  “When I joined Stoke I said if I'm scoring goals then I'd have a chance to play for England again. I hope I get a chance and I'd grab it with both hands.”

Emotional return

Bolton Wanderers made an emotional return to action with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the EPL, a week after midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie.

After postponing their league fixture against Aston Villa out of respect for the England under-21 international, who remains in intensive care in hospital, Bolton secured three points to climb out of the relegation zone.  Fans held up a mosaic of cards which spelled out “Muamba 6” before kick off, referring to his shirt number.

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