FA Premier League
Saturday 15 December 2012, 12.45 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, K Toure, Nastasic, Clichy, Garcia, Y Toure (c), Silva, Nasri (Kolarov 37 (Dzeko 72)), Aguero, Tevez (Lescott 79)
Unused: Pantilimon, Sinclair, Razak, Rekik
Goals: Aguero (10), Garcia (39), Y Toure (78)
Booked: Aguero, K Toure
Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabatela
Newcastle were out of the blocks quicker than the visitors, who opened by looking fragile at the back. Kolo Toure and Nastasic challenged for the same ball and left a gap for the hosts to attack in behind. Clichy cleared, but from the ball back in, Tiote found Cisse, who smashed a shot at goal and it took a great save from Hart to keep it out. The City keeper then needed to be alert from a Newcastle corner, punching clear from under his own crossbar.
Despite that early pressure, though, City’s first attack brought the first goal. Yaya Toure produced a wonderful pass to Nasri, breaking into the box. He drew Krul from his goal and squared it for Aguero, breaking into the six-yard box, leaving the Argentine with an open goal that he couldn’t miss.
Minutes later, it could have been two from City. Newcastle looked over-awed as Silva and Nasri played a one-two on the left flank and, as the passing move worked the Spaniard into the box, he squared for Tevez. The striker’s first touch meant it was a difficult volley and Krul produced a good save to keep it out. Nasri found himself in again shortly after and tried to square for Tevez, but it was just too far in front of him.
City were attacking like a hot knife through butter: Silva was terrorising the Newcastle back line and played Nasri in. The Frenchman, facing Krul on a one-on-one, slid it past the goalkeeper and was unlucky to see it bounce back off the post. Aguero was there for the rebound and it looked a certain goal, but Williamson threw himself at the ball and got it behind.
Newcastle, though, weren’t out of it: A free kick on the left flank was nodded back across goal and it needed Hart to come off his line to boot the ball away. From the resulting knock down, the volley was slammed towards the back post, but the City keeper got across brilliantly to keep it out.
Another flowing move from City saw Nasri and Tevez combine quickly to work the opening down the right flank. Nasri was in behind the home side’s defence and he squared for Aguero, whose first time shot was wide of the post. A City breakaway sent Silva running at the Newcastle back line. He played in Tevez and the Argentine’s shot deflected wide. From the corner, Garcia got up above Coloccini and planted it past Santon on the line.
The second half began as a repeat of the first, with Newcastle pressure. Ba was just offside from a deep free kick, before Cisse headed powerfully over. After blazing past Zabaleta on the left wing, Santon cut inside and drove a low shot at goal, which hit the base of Hart’s post and bounced behind.
And then the hosts got themselves back into the game. The first ball into the City box was cleared, but the back line was late in pushing out, leaving Ba onside. His header bounced over Hart, who had come for the cross and stopped, leaving himself stranded in no man’s land. Immediately, they could have been level, as Cisse found space in the box to turn and shoot, but his effort was well over the bar.
With 56 minutes played, a brilliant ball from Zabaleta played Tevez in on goal. Krul was out quickly to block the effort, as Tevez tried to lift it over him, when perhaps the better option was a square pass to Aguero.
On the hour mark, Newcastle were stepping up the pressure and City were struggling to clear their lines. Several balls into the box were just about headed clear by Kolo Toure and Clichy, before Hart was out quickly to get a Tevez knock-back away from goal. From the final corner of that spell, Ba smashed a low shot, but it could only ruffle the side netting.
But despite the Newcastle pressure, somewhat against the run of play, the visitors extended their lead. Some good work by Silva kept the ball alive on the left. He played in Zabaleta on the overlap and the Argentine’s low ball into the box was prodded home from six yards, by the stand-in captain, Yaya Toure.
With five minutes to play, Ameobi headed a great chance straight at Hart when he should have made the goalkeeper work. From Hart’s kick, Dzeko held the ball up and slid it to Aguero, who fired a shot from the edge of the box. Krul threw himself at it, but if flashed just wide of the far post. A minute later, it broke to Aguero with just one defender between him and the goal. He got away from Anita, but his chip over Krul dropped well wide of the post.