LONDON, Dec 31: Manchester City saw its record 18-game winning run in the Premier League ended with a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the leaders dealt a further blow with injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.
It needed a penalty save from Ederson Moraes off Luka Milivojevic in injury time to preserve City’s unbeaten run after 21 games and leave Pep Guardiola’s side 14 points clear heading into the new year.
Despite being in a commanding position with 17 games remaining, City will be concerned in particular with the injury to Jesus, who limped off in tears with a left leg injury midway through the first half after falling awkwardly.
“Maybe one month or two months,” Guardiola said of the likely length of absence of the Brazil striker.
De Bruyne was carried off on a stretcher in injury time, moments after Ederson’s penalty save, and was helped along the touchline by two members of City’s medical staff after the final whistle.
Guardiola said the midfielder was “lucky” it was not more serious but didn’t give any more details.
City failed to score in a league game for the first time this season as Palace showed no inferiority complex up against one of the best sides to ever play in the Premier League.
“I thought our discipline, defensively, throughout the game was very good,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said.
“Before we would have been jumping through hoops to get a point,” Hodgson added. “But when you miss a penalty, there is always an element of sadness.”
This was the first time City dropped points since a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Aug. 21. The four-month winning run started five days later with a last-gasp victory at Bournemouth.
A 19th straight victory would have matched the record winning streak in Europe’s top five leagues, set by Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the 2013-14 season. It also would have set a Premier League record of 12 straight away wins.
The closest City came to scoring was a deflected shot by substitute Sergio Aguero — the replacement for Jesus — that struck the post in the first half.
There was a lack of flow to City’s play for much of the match, with De Bruyne’s passing unusually sloppy and Palace sometimes hurting the visitors with their direct style.
It was a surreal ending to the match. Moments after the penalty, contentiously awarded for a foul by Raheem Sterling on Wilfried Zaha, came the foul on De Bruyne by Jason Puncheon as City launched a late counterattack.
As both players got treatment — they were both carried off the field on stretchers at the same time — Guardiola took a seat next to Hodgson in Palace’s dug-out as the managers chatted. AP