Marten De Roon’s stoppage-time header earned Middlesbrough a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Saturday in the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero gave City the lead from close range following Kevin De Bruyne’s superb cross from the right just before the break, and despite having several chances to put the game beyond Boro, the hosts could not beat Victor Valdes.
Middlesbrough levelled at the death through De Roon’s powerful header from George Friend’s fine cross, continuing their up-turn in form in the top flight.
The result means City can now be knocked off top spot by Chelsea, who play Everton at 5.30pm on Saturday, while Middlesbrough are 14th with 11 points from 11 games.
Pep Guardiola made three changes from the side that beat Barcelona in midweek, welcoming Jesus Navas, Aleksandar Kolarov and Claudio Bravo back into the fold.
The hosts struggled against a resolute Boro defence early on, and were kept largely at bay until the final stages of the first period despite having over 75 per cent of possession.
Valdes beat away Aguero’s effort from inside the area just after the half-hour mark after the Argentine had found space, before Valdes was at his best to superbly deny his compatriot David Silva’s close-range shot.
Aguero then half-volleyed just wide from a left-wing cross, but City got their goal two minutes before the break through the striker, his 150th for the club since joining in 2011.
Picking the ball up on the right, De Bruyne’s fine low cross found the boot of Aguero at the near post, and he duly poked it into the bottom right corner past Valdes.
Navas hit the post for City with an audacious effort from an acute angle, which Valdes looked to have covered, but Boro came out in the second half with more attacking intent.
Former City man Alvaro Negredo forced Bravo into a save with an effort from the halfway line, before Bravo darted off his line to deny Adam Forshaw from 10 yards.
City huffed and puffed for a second, with Ilkay Gundogan volleying wide and Aguero heading over the bar, but they should have been home and dry with four minutes remaining.
Receiving the ball inside the area unmarked from Jesus Navas’ cut back, Aguero steered the ball inches wide when he should have scored.
And the hosts were punished in the first minute of stoppage time as Friend’s deep cross went over the head of Negredo, but Dutch midfielder De Roon was on hand to power a header past Bravo, who got a touch on it.
Manchester City: Bravo (6), Zabaleta (6), Stones (6), Kolarov (5), Clichy (5), Fernandinho (6), Gundogan (6), Navas (6), De Bruyne (6), Silva (5), Aguero (6)
Subs: Garcia (6), Nolito (6), Iheanacho (NA)
Middlesbrough: Valdes (8), Barragan (6), Chambers (7), Gibson (7), Friend (7), Clayton (6), De Roon (7), Forshaw (7), Traore (7), Downing (6), Negredo (6)
Subs: Fischer (6), Stuani (6)
Man of the match: Victor Valde