Manchester City are all but assured of a place in next season’s Champions League as Manuel Pellegrini’s time at the club ended with a 1-1 draw at Swansea City. They were denied a win as Andre Ayew’s deflected free-kick in the stoppage time of first half cancelled out Kelechi Iheanacho’s early close-range opener. The draw leaves Man City three points ahead of Manchester United, who still have to play their final game on Tuesday against Bournemouth which was abandoned after finding a suspect device in a toilet.
Man City’s vastly superior goal difference means United would need a 19-0 win over the Cherries to take fourth place. In many ways, Man City’s display at the Liberty Stadium was a fitting way to end an underwhelming season that began with such promise before limping to a satisfactory but below-par conclusion. Iheanacho – the on-field embodiment of a potentially exciting future – again demonstrated his sharpness in front of goal to poke home the opening goal after a Sergio Aguero shot had been saved in the fifth minute.
It was the 19-year-old’s 14th goal of the season and his eighth from his first 12 shots on target in the Premier League. But he and his Man City side failed to build on it, missing numerous chances to put the game to bed, with the young forward and his usually lethal Argentine partner Aguero particularly wasteful. It left them vulnerable to a Swansea equaliser – which came courtesy of a 25-yard Ayew free-kick that deflected in off Fernando’s head – and a potentially devastating second in a tense second half for the away side.
In securing a top-four finish, Pellegrini has achieved the very minimum required of him before handing over to Pep Guardiola this summer, but it does not mask the failings of the Chilean’s final campaign. Despite winning the League Cup for a second time in three years and going further in the Champions League than ever before, Man City’s expensively assembled squad have underachieved in the league. Their haul of 66 points is their lowest in the top-flight since the 2008-09 season – the first under Sheikh Mansour’s ownership.
Curated from Swansea City 1-1 Manchester City – BBC Sport