Manchester City were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Tottenham after the Premier League champions were denied a dramatic winner by VAR, while Liverpool extended their perfect start to the title race with a 2-1 win at Southampton yesterday.
Pep Guardiola’s side failed to win for the first time in 16 Premier League matches dating back to last season following a controversial finish at the Etihad Stadium.
City thought they had stolen three points when Gabriel Jesus fired home in stoppage-time, but their celebrations were curtailed when a VAR review showed Aymeric Laporte had flicked the ball on with his arm.
The drama echoed Tottenham’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg triumph at City’s expense last season when they went through on away goals after Raheem Sterling had a late goal ruled out by VAR.
City were in front in the 20th minute when Kevin De Bruyne’s sublime cross was met by Sterling at the far post and the City winger headed back across Hugo Lloris for his fourth goal of the season.
But Tottenham hit back inside three minutes as Erik Lamela beat slow-to-react City keeper Ederson from the edge of the area.
City’s lead was restored in the 35th minute when Sergio Aguero glanced in a close-range finish from another pin-point De Bruyne cross.
However, after less than 20 seconds on the pitch as a replacement for Harry Winks, Brazilian forward Lucas Moura climbed higher than Kyle Walker to head Tottenham level from Lamela’s corner.
Aguero exchanged angry words with Guardiola when he was substituted for Jesus, who was even more frustrated than his teammate as he protested to the officials at the final whistle.
Calling for VAR’s decision-making to be tweaked, Guardiola said: “I thought we left that situation in Tottenham in the Champions League last season. But it is the same. The referee and VAR disallow it. It’s the second time, it’s tough. They have to fix it.”
At St Mary’s, Liverpool matched a club record of 11 successive Premier League wins to move two points clear of City as they built on last week’s 4-1 thrashing of Norwich.
Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead in first half stoppage-time when Senegal winger Sadio Mane, who scored twice against Chelsea in the European Super Cup victory in midweek, returned to haunt his former club with an agile turn and curling strike into the far corner.
Roberto Firmino made it two with his 49th league goal for Liverpool, the Brazil forward taking Mane’s pass, dribbling and then firing home in the 71st minute.