05/02/2017 13:30 v Manchester City
Swansea City hearts were broken at Manchester City for a second successive season as they went down 2-1 thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Gabriel Jesus.
The Swans had seemed set to land a valuable point against Pep Guardiola’s star-studded Manchester City.
But as was the case when they lost at the Etihad Stadium last season, the Swans were undone by a last-gasp goal.
The Swans had been outplayed in a difficult first half as they tried to sit deep and soak up the pressure, and deservedly trailed at the break thanks to Jesus’s early strike.
But Paul Clement’s team switched their approach in the second 45 minutes, pushing much higher up the pitch and causing City problems as a result.
The equaliser they deserved came nine minutes from time, when Gylfi Sigurdsson finished in style from outside the box.
But Jesus popped up in the 92nd minute to snatch the points for City – and leave the Swans licking their wounds.
Though the manner of the defeat was painful, Clement’s players can take heart from another positive performance.
The result means the Swans are 17th in the table, with 21 points from 24 games.
The Swans were on the defensive right from the start, as they sat deep in an attempt to deal with the home side’s numerous goal threats.
There was a sign of what was to come inside just two minutes, as David Silva crossed from the left and Jesus skied a shot over the bar.
Nine minutes later, he would not be so wasteful.
Silva was the architect, making ground down the left flank once more before sending in another inviting centre.
Martin Olsson made a partial clearance, but the loose ball dropped to Jesus and he stabbed home from close range.
City were piling men forward, and the Swans were struggling to cope.
Yaya Toure’s curling free-kick was destined for the top corner before Lukasz Fabianski scampered across his line to make a fine save.
Next Raheem Sterling whipped in a right-wing cross which Fede Fernandez did well to clear with Jesus lurking.
From the Silva corner which followed, Toure found time and space but dragged his volley wide of the target.
When the Swans did get possession, they were unable to get numbers forward quickly and the majority of the counter-attacks broke down.
After Toure forced another save from Fabianski, the Swans were grateful to go in at half-time only 1-0 down.
The Swans began the second half by pushing higher up the pitch than they had at any stage in the first period.
And straightaway, the apparent tactical switch caused Pep Guardiola’s team some problems.
The visitors managed their first shot of the day on 48 minutes – and it almost brought an equaliser.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s whipped free-kick was goalbound, but Willy Caballero leapt to his right to make a sprawling save.
At the other end, Leroy Sane’s attempted cross cannoned to safety off the base of Fabianski’s post, but the Swans continued to impose themselves.
There was another sight of goal just after the hour mark, when Sigurdsson sent in a typically inviting corner which Alfie Mawson met with a firm header which flashed narrowly wide of the far post.
Clement sent on Luciano Narsingh in an attempt to increase his side’s attacking threat, with Nathan Dyer following shortly afterwards.
After their waves of attack in the opening 45 minutes, City were much less menacing by now, although Jesus’s clever flick looked to have sent in Silva until Mawson’s fine recovery challenge.
City were become increasingly nervy as the Swans passed and probed, and in the 81st minute Clement’s side got the goal they deserved for their huge improvement in the second half.
Some controlled possession saw Leroy Fer feed Narsingh, who held off his marker before squaring for Sigurdsson.
Some 20 yards from goal and with the ball on his weaker left side, the Icelander had plenty to do.
But he did it.
His crisp low shot skidded beyond Caballero and into the bottom corner of the net.
The Swans looked on course for what would have been a hugely creditable draw until Jesus struck in the second minute of stoppage time.
The Brazilian’s header was parried by Fabianski, and he then completed the simple task of tapping home from a yard.
MANCHESTER CITY: Willy Caballero, Aleksandar Kolarov, John Stones, Gael Clichy, Fernandinho, David Silva (capt, Fernando 90 +5), Leroy Sane, Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne (Pablo Zabaleta 78), Raheem Sterling (Sergio Aguero 83), Gabriel Jesus.
SUBS: Claudio Bravo, Vincent Kompany, Jesus Navas, Fabian Delph.
SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Martin Olsson, Jack Cork (capt), Tom Carroll (Nathan Dyer 75), Leroy Fer, Wayne Routledge (Luciano Narsingh 65), Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente (Borja 83).
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Jordi Amat, Stephen Kingsley, Leon Britton.