Manchester City scraped a controversial goalless draw at home to Southampton on Saturday at the end of a difficult week for manager Pep Guardiola.
The Premier League champions were far less impressive against Saints than they had been in beating RB Leipzig 6-3 in midweek – a victory that was overshadowed by Guardiola's post-match comments.
The Catalan coach upset fans by appearing to question the attendance for another big home triumph, urging "all our people to come" for a clash against "so, so dangerous" Southampton.
Guardiola later insisted his comments about fans had been misinterpreted, but Southampton certainly lived up to his pre-match lofty billing and were left disappointed to head home with only a point after a second-half penalty awarded against Kyle Walker was overturned – albeit Raheem Sterling also had a late goal struck off.
Chances were few and far between up until the penalty incident, although Che Adams dragged wide as pressure built on the City goal.
It appeared as though Southampton would have a huge opportunity to win at the Etihad Stadium for the first time since 2004 when Walker barged Adam Armstrong to the ground and was shown a red card on the hour mark.
But referee Jon Moss was called to the pitchside monitor and ruled in City's favour, giving Walker an unlikely reprieve.
City were well supported throughout – despite the empty seats clearly visible in the stands – but could not capitalise on their narrow escape, even with Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden introduced from the bench.
Sterling did appear to have stolen victory as he turned in the rebound when Alex McCarthy got down to Foden's 90th-minute header, yet another VAR review found the England forward just offside.