Bolton 3 – 3 Man City
By Harry Reekie
Tevez was once again on target in an impressive individual performance
Carlos Tevez scored twice to salvage another draw for Manchester City in a thrilling game against Bolton.
Ivan Klasnic opened the scoring despite appearing to be offside before Tevez levelled with a deflected strike.
Gary Cahill’s curler put Bolton ahead before Micah Richards equalised – but Klasnic’s swivelling shot made it 3-2.
Craig Bellamy was controversially sent off after being booked for diving, but Tevez’s long-range effort claimed a late draw in a memorable game.
The result means City have now drawn their last four away matches and ensures questions remain as to whether Mark Hughes’ side can produce the consistent form necessary to challenge for a top-four finish.
Bolton, meanwhile, will feel frustrated that they failed to take all three points after an often-dominant display in which they took the lead on three occasions.
The hosts were much-improved from their loss at Wolves last week but that will come as little comfort to manager Gary Megson who is increasingly facing a relegation battle.
It will also come as scant consolation that Bolton started the match in such positive fashion, taking a deserved lead early on.
A cross from the left made it all the way to Lee Chung-Yong on the right-hand side of the area. The South Korean’s driven shot deflected off the foot of Sylvinho and into the path of Klasnic who could not miss in front of goal – although the Croatian was clearly offside.
City’s players were left fuming by the decision and clearly had their minds elsewhere when Tamir Cohen was left unmarked moments later to send an overhead kick just wide, while claims for a penalty were waved away by referee Mark Clattenburg after Richards appeared to handle.
But City forced their way back into the match through Tevez’s deflected equaliser.
Bellamy fired in a cross from the left which was only half cleared by Zat Knight and Fabrice Muamba, allowing Tevez to take a touch and let fly.
The ball took a small but crucial touch off Cohen and looped over the stranded Jaaskelainen.
City began to assert themselves but just when it seemed Hughes’ side were destined to take the lead, Cahill grabbed a goal to remember.
The central defender received a throw-in on the edge of the area, turned and curled an exquisite left-footed strike into the top corner.
The home fans went wild yet they had barely retaken their seats before City were back on terms.
A brilliant team move inspired by the impressive Bellamy set Richards racing into the area and the powerful right-back slotted past Jaaskelainen.
Megson urged his side not to let their heads drop and they came out fighting to retake the lead for the third time early in the second half.
A cross from Paul Robinson was flicked back by Cahill and Klasnic managed to swivel and fire past Shay Given in one clever movement.
Muamba then failed to make amends for his earlier defensive mistake; firstly slicing wide when clean through then over-hitting a pass to Davies when the striker was in an ideal position to score.
But it was the sending off of Bellamy that will surely be one of the game’s main talking points.
The Welshman was sent free down the left and went down easily under a challenge by Robinson, with Clattenburg opting to book the player for diving instead of awarding a free-kick.
But much to Bellamy’s amazement – and the majority of the crowd – the official produced a red card.
It was later revealed that Bellamy had been booked previously for dissent but the player appeared not to be aware that he had already been cautioned.
To their credit, City continued to push for an equaliser despite going down to 10 men and once again drew level through the inspirational Tevez.
The ball broke to the Argentine 25 yards out and his left-footed drive flew past Jaaskelainen – ultimately ensuring one of the most exciting games of the season so far ended all square.
Bolton may feel they should have held on, but their upcoming fixtures against fellow strugglers West Ham, Wigan, Burnley and Hull will now take on an added importance.