Manchester City grabs late point in 1-1 draw with Hull

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Manchester | February 08, 2015 1:29 AM

James Milner struck a superb injury-time free kick as Manchester City grabbed a disappointing point to draw with Hull...

James Milner, Manchester City, Hull, ChelseaJames Milner of Manchester City scores from a free kick against Hull City reacts during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. (Reuters)

James Milner struck a superb injury-time free kick as Manchester City grabbed a disappointing point to draw with Hull 1-1 Saturday and fall further behind Premier League leader Chelsea.

David Meyler put the visitors ahead in the 35th at the Etihad Stadium with a left-footed shot from the center of the area.

Defending champion City now trails Chelsea by seven points with 14 matches left.

After a dismal first-half display, City showed greater urgency after the break and hit the woodwork before Milner struck.

Milner, who is out of contract in the summer, curled home from the edge of the area for a goal that underlines his enduring value to manager Manuel Pellegrini.

City can argue it was the least its efforts deserved after dominating possession but Hull will feel unlucky having got so close to giving its survival push an unlikely but much-needed shot in the arm.

Hull’s wait for a first win since New Year’s Day goes on but manager Steve Bruce will at least be encouraged.

The return of Yaya Toure from the African Cup of Nations clearly cannot come quickly enough for City, which has now played six matches without the powerhouse midfielder this season and not won any of them.

Jake Livermore was heavily involved as Hull pounced on some calamitous City defending to seize the lead.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart came out to clear when Martin Demichelis hesitated but only found Livermore and had to save his quickfire shot. Pablo Zabaleta then had a chance to clear but Gaston Ramirez nipped in and fired a shot against the post. This time there was no City player nearby and Meyler reacted quickest to tuck home the rebound.

Milner came on for Edin Dzeko as City continued to look for openings but, despite improved possession, its efforts met with frustration.

City enjoyed a stranglehold on possession in the closing stages but its luck did not look like turning.

Sergio Aguero brilliantly controlled a cross from Samir Nasri with 89 minutes on the clock but his deft shot rebounded off the bar.

It seemed time might be up but Milner, as the game headed into four minutes of injury time, bent a perfect free kick around the wall after Aguero was felled by Tom Huddlestone.

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