Semi Ajayi’s Deflected Strike Derails Man City’s Title Bid

Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi wheeled away in celebration as his deflected strike eluded Ederson to draw West Brom level with Manchester City but what he believed was his first-ever Premier League goal was later credited as an own goal to Ruben Diaz but the strike nonetheless helped the Baggies secure a huge point at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

West Brom, boasting the league’s worst defensive record visited the Etihad on the back of a two-game losing run with many expecting Pep Guardiola’s side to make it three loses on the bounce for Slaven Bilic’s side.

And it appeared the predictions would come to pass after Raheem Sterling set up Ilkay Guendogan to open the scoring on the half hour mark.

But rather than resign themselves to defeat, West Brom rallied and were back on level terms just before the interval.

The Baggies were awarded a rather generous free-kick just outside the area which the hosts failed to deal with. The loose ball fell at the feet of Ajayi whose strike took a giant deflection off Diaz to wrongfoot Ederson in City’s goal.

The hosts piled on the pressure after the break but the Baggies defence marshalled by Ajayi who donned the captain’s armband after Jake Livermore was substituted stood resolute with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone twice saving from point blank range against Guendogan and Sterling as West Brom held on for a share of the spoils.

The dropped points could prove costly for City as they bid to wrestle the title from Liverpool.

The Citizens would have moved into the top four with a win, but the draw means they stay sixth with 20 points after 12 games although they could fall further down the table if their rivals win on Wednesday.

West Brom, meanwhile, remain mired in relegation trouble in 19th place with 7 points after 13 games but the unexpected point could prove crucial in their bid for survival at the end of the season.