FA Premier League
Saturday 16 March 2013, 12.45 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta (c), K Toure (Sinclair 83), Nastasic, Milner (Clichy 83), Garcia, Barry (Nasri 70), Kolarov, Silva, Tevez, Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Razak, Lescott, Lopes
Booked: Kolarov, Dzeko, Silva
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta
It was a lively start to the game, with both sides seemingly more interested in getting stuck in than shots on goal. Fellaini saw yellow for a late challenge on Milner, before Gibson hit the wall from a free kick, after Kolo Toure had fouled Anichebe. Hart was out quickly to punch a Baines cross, following a half-cleared corner. Everton had the ball in the net following a City clearance, but the flag was up for offside.
With 20 minutes played, it had been all the home side, but they had been unable to find the breakthrough. They had tried several crosses, most of which met the head of Kolo Toure, and City were holding out – just about. City’s first real bout of pressure allowed Silva to whip a free kick into the box, but neither Dzeko nor Milner could get a touch and Mucha could collect it.
A minute later and City had suddenly come to life: Tevez had an effort from the edge of the box and Mucha was able to hold it. Kolarov then found Dzeko in the box and his turn and shot was well blocked by the goalkeeper, before the Bosnian tried a curler from the left corner of the area. He couldn’t get enough bend on the ball, though, and it dropped nicely for Mucha to collect.
Despite the growing City pressure, it was the home side who took the lead. After a spell of Everton possession, Osman hit the ball from range and sliced through it, bending it away from Hart and into the top corner. The visitors were behind at Goodison once again.
After the goal, City virtually collapsed: Fellaini could have had a penalty when Nastasic blocked him off, before Anichebe turned and shot from the corner of the six-yard box, but skied his effort. Tevez tried another effort from 25 yards towards the back post, but it was just wide of the post. Dzeko couldn’t then flick a header towards the goal, as Kolarov’s cross was just too high for him.
City started the second half brighter: Kolarov volleyed high as it bounced to him from a cross from the right, before Milner nodded down for Garcia to shoot, but he couldn’t connect to the ball. Barry flicked a corner towards the back post and Nastasic was inches away from getting the vital touch, but he missed the ball too, and it bounced behind for a goal kick.
With 30 minutes to play, City were thrown a lifeline. Pienaar dived in on Garcia and raked his studs down the Spaniard’s shin. Having already been booked, he was always going to be shown a red card and the visitors had to face ten men.
Six minutes later, the visitors should have been level. Dzeko brilliantly played Tevez into the box and the Argentine’s effort was pushed out to Milner by Mucha. The midfielder hit it first time towards the goal, but the keeper was up quickly to make himself big and block behind for a corner. It really should have been the equaliser.
With just over ten minutes to play, it was Zabaleta who was denied by Mucha, again storming off his line to make himself big. Dzeko nodded the ball back across goal and found Silva in the box, who tried to work the opening to shoot. On his right foot, he decided to play Zabaleta in, who took a touch to blast, but the keeper pounced on his control. Coleman then put in a brilliant header to deny Tevez a free header at the back post.
With five minutes to play, Tevez smashed a shot from range and it was blocked by the arm of Fellaini inside the box. The referee, though, bottled the decision and gave it as a free kick outside the area. It couldn’t have been more blatant inside the box: The free kick hit the wall. It should have been a penalty.
With stoppage time over, Everton broke away with a two-on-one with Fellaini and Jelavic. The Belgian squared for the striker and his shot deflected off Clichy and over Hart into the top corner. City were toothless and got exactly what they deserved: Nothing.