English Premier League
Sunday 6 May 2012, 13.30 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri (de Jong 62), Silva (Richards 86), Tevez (Dzeko 70), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Milner, A Johnson,
Goals: Y Toure (70, 89)
Booked: Barry, Y Toure, Zabaleta
Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Yaya Toure
It was Newcastle that started the game with more possession, but it was the visitors with the first spell of pressure. Nasri and Yaya Toure had shots blocked, before a short corner routine allowed Silva to shoot first time in the box. That effort, though, was blocked behind, before Krul pulled off a neat save from a low shot from Silva across goal. Tevez then found Nasri in the box, but the Frenchman couldn’t control.
With 16 minutes played, Tevez and Barry combined to slide the ball through to Aguero on the left side of the box. There, he took the ball onto his right foot and tried a low effort at Krul’s goal, but it was weakly hit and the Dutch keeper was able to dive on it comfortably. Soon after, the goalkeeper came for a long ball but didn’t get there and Aguero was able to take it around him. His ball across the goal, though, was just short of finding Nasri.
Tevez curled a free kick from just outside the area with just over 25 minutes played, but Krul was able to swallow it up. City were pressing, but the breakthrough was still eluding them. Newcastle’s first effort on goal followed shortly after – Clichy lost the ball to Ben Arfa and he found Ba inside, but the turn and shot was over Hart’s crossbar.
Just after the half hour, Zabaleta gifted a chance to Gutierrez and he slipped it past Kompany to find Ba in the box. His shot was blocked as far as Ben Arfa on the right side of the box and the Frenchman hit it first time. Hart pulled off a great save to keep it out, before Cabaye shot well wide. Newcastle were suddenly on top.
It should have been City that took the lead with five minutes of the half to play. The ball broke to Barry on the edge of the box with room to shoot, but a brilliant save by Krul kept it out. The rebound bounced straight back to him and this time he beat the goalkeeper, but couldn’t get it past Santon on the line. A goalmouth scramble followed, but the hosts managed to squeeze the ball clear.
The first real spell of pressure of the second half came from a City corner. Silva and Nasri worked a short flag kick, before it was kept alive in the box by Lescott. Yaya Toure found Tevez on the corner of the area, but his instinctive hit was sliced wide of the far post. Silva’s effort from range just before the half hour took a deflection and that took all of the power out of it, leaving Krul an easy job to collect.
Silva and Barry were crowded out on the edge of the Newcastle box, before a mistake from de Jong allowed the hosts to break. Ben Arfa’s effort, though, was high and wide, when he should have done better having beaten Clichy. Ba broke free from Kompany and shot straight at de Jong; both sides were pressing for the victory.
Seconds after the introduction of Dzeko, City put the ball in the net with their next attack. De Jong played a neat one-two with Dzeko, before doing the same with Aguero and finding Yaya Toure in the middle of the pitch. He placed his shot into the bottom corner of the goal and the blues had squeezed themselves in front. Just.
Dzeko could have done better with 73 minutes played, as he got the better of the hosts’ defence. Though on the left side of the box, he could have looked for Aguero in the middle, but chose to volley at goal. He slashed it wide. Aguero was then onside and played in on a one-on-one with Krul, but he slide the shot wide.
With 12 minutes to play, Cisse found space inside the City box and nodded Ameobi’s cross wide of Hart’s near post. It was a let off for City, who were suddenly on the back foot again. Zabaleta gave away a rash free kick on the left flank, but a combination of Barry, Silva and de Jong got it away. A Yaya Toure free header was then flashed wide of the post, as City tried to tie it up.
Five minutes later, Newcastle were still in the game thanks only to Tim Krul. On a one-on-one with Yaya Toure, the keeper stood up and the Ivorian slipped. He found Aguero from on the floor and he appeared to have an open goal. He lifted it over the defence and seemingly into the net, until Krul’s hand came out of nowhere to tip it over the bar.
It was all Newcastle going into the final stages. Richards made a brilliant block from an Ameobi effort on the edge of the box and, on the break from that corner, Clichy slipped Yaya Toure in and he took a touch, before slotting it past Krul to double with a minute plus stoppage time to play. Hart then kept Newcastle out with a brilliant one-handed stop from Cisse.
City had put the pressure right back onto United.