Manchester City 2 Chelsea 1 - match report
By David Mooney, Thu 22 March 2012 09:31
English Premier League
Wednesday 21 March 2012, 19.45 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, K Toure, Clichy, de Jong (Tevez 66), Y Toure, Silva (Dzeko 77), Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli (Barry 45)
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Savic, Milner
Goals: Aguero (pen 78), Nasri (85)
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Samir Nasri
City came flying out of the blocks looking for a good start against a tough Chelsea side. Knowing that nothing less than a win would be good enough, the home side were obviously attack-minded from the off. Zabaleta went close with a driven shot from the edge of the box, before Silva fired over after more good work from the Argentine full-back.
With just nine minutes on the clock, Nasri was inches away from opening the scoring for City. His chest trap from a beautiful ball by Yaya Toure set himself up perfectly to chip Cech. He got the ball over the goalkeeper and it looked to be dropping in. It didn’t: Cech reacted well as the effort bounced back off the crossbar.
Aguero couldn’t finish after a steaming run from Yaya Toure worked the ball into the box, before Toure himself went down under a challenge from Lampard inside the area, but the referee waved away his claims for a penalty. Chelsea tried to respond through an effort from Mata on the edge of the box, but Hart was able to watch it over.
Nasri had a pop from long range, but Cech had it covered as it was just too high. Balotelli then intercepted a bad pass across the visitors’ back four and was clean through on goal, but his effort towards the bottom corner was touched around the post by the goalkeeper. It had been all City at the break, but the scores were still level.
The second half began where the first ended: City were on top and looking dangerous. Nasri skied an effort from the edge of the box on a quick breakaway, before the Frenchman almost got lucky – his cross almost dropped in at the back post, until Cech touched it onto the crossbar. Aguero put the resulting chance over the bar.
But, just as it looked like City would be the only team to score, the visitors found themselves ahead with something of a smash and grab. A corner into the blues’ box caused them problems and they couldn’t get the ball clear. Cahill took advantage, smashing in a shot that deflected off Yaya Toure and beat Hart, who was wrong-footed.
City responded, though: Clichy drove an effort right at Cech from the edge of the box, before Essien handed the home side a way back. His handball in the area allowed Aguero the chance to shoot from the spot. He sent Cech the wrong way from the penalty, scoring City’s 100th goal of the season and City had just over ten minutes to find a winner.
Five minutes before the end, City did grab the winner they deserved. Nasri slipped the ball into Tevez on the edge of the box and he did well to hold off Cahill, before slipping the ball straight back to the Frenchman, who was through on goal. He dinked it over the oncoming Cech and the ball hit the back of the net.
City were back within a point of United; this one could go all the way to the wire.