Huddersfield Town performed terrifically as they clinched another point in the battle for Premier League survival on the day Manchester City finally lifted their third trophy.
Both sides had chances to win the game, but the Terriers’ defence must receive extra credit for being the first team to stop City from scoring at the Etihad Stadium in 20 matches as the two sides at opposite ends of the table played out a 0-0 draw.
The early stages played out as expected; City dominating possession whilst Huddersfield, energetic as ever, put on relentless pressure which saw the hosts go long more than they would’ve wanted.
City found a way through for the first time of many after Mathias Zanka slipped and allowed David Silva to make space before forcing Jonas Lossl to make a fairly simple save down to his left.
You could tell Huddersfield were in the middle of a tight relegation scrap as they showed they weren’t going to be pushovers, with Aaron Mooy shooting narrowly wide from 25 yards out.
Moments later, the biggest chance of the game yet was missed, but by the visitors, not City.
Alex Pritchard played a smart free-kick through to put Florent Hadergjonaj one-on-one with Ederson, but the full-back’s tame effort was easily collected by the Brazilian goalkeeper.
The City defence caught napping, while the Terriers continued to show their undeniable threat from set-pieces. Hadergjonaj walked away with his head in his hands, and rightly so. Huge chance blown.
Kevin De Bruyne was next to go close. After Silva and b combined well on the left flank, the latter picked out De Bruyne on the edge of the area and his low, bending strike whistled past Lossl’s right-hand post. The Huddersfield ‘keeper was rooted to the spot.
The Terriers continued to press though, and Pritchard aimed a fierce right-footed strike towards goal which made Ederson produce a superb diving stop to tip it round the post.
Huddersfield came forward again on the half-hour mark as Terence Kongolo’s headed clearance led to Mooy slotting through Chris Lowe down the left before the marauding full-back fired just wide of the near post.
Manchester City were still dominating possession though and looked a threat every time they entered the opposition half, with Sterling leaving Lowe on the floor with trickery in the area before winning a corner.
From the subsequent set-piece, De Bruyne should’ve done better after his shot from Gabriel Jesus’ delivery was straight at Lossl, who parried the ball away from danger for the time being.
The tempo was being raised as half-time approached and it was Jesus who was next to almost break the deadlock, getting in between two defenders and heading Kyle Walker’s pinpoint cross over the bar.
David Wagner’s lowly side had held their own for the first 45 minutes though, and the players left the field to a deserved roaring ovation from the away end.
City were almost awarded a free opener after a calamitous error saw Lossl punch Sane’s cross onto Steve Mounie and the ball nearly ricocheted into the goal, but Christopher Schindler was aware and cleared the danger.
Pep Guardiola tried to get his team’s gears rolling again by introducing Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva for Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones, who looked to pick up a knock, respectively.
Yaya Toure was sat on the bench watching on, and you must wonder whether the Ivorian Manchester City great will get the opportunity to have his final bow before the season ends, with nothing left to play for now.
The home side upped the tempo and pressure on Huddersfield’s box as the second period went on, with Sane and Silva the two turning the screws the most. Huddersfield’s back five were holding very firm.
Next it was substitute Mendy who whipped in a dangerous cross from the left and Jesus beat Zanka too it in the air, but could only head over and leave Lossl untroubled.
Wagner helped the clock go down a bit more by introducing hard-working forward Rajiv van La Parra at the expense of Pritchard, who put on a good showing for the visitors.
Another substitute in Bernardo Silva was next to try his luck after latching onto Laurent Depoitre’s measly clearance and shooting wide of the mark.
Mendy almost netted a remarkable winger from around 30 yards out after receiving the ball from Walker and letting fly from the left side of the pitch just over Lossl’s crossbar.
Following more City pressure and four minutes of stoppage time, referee Mike Dean blew the final whistle and Huddersfield had held on to what could prove to be a vital point in the battle for Premier League survival after a phenomenal performance at the Etihad Stadium.
The Terriers now sit three points above Swansea City the drop zone with just two games left to play, so you can see why the away supporters celebrated the end of the match like they’d won a cup final.
There’s a trip to Chelsea next for the Yorkshire side before the curtain-closer at the John Smith’s Stadium against Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final game in charge.
This result would’ve been hugely negative at any other stage in the season for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, but they were the side ending the day lifting their third Premier League trophy, so it was a case of everyone’s a winner on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.