City end away day woes with victory at The Hawthorns
FA Premier League
Wednesday 4 December 2013, 20.15 KO
City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure (Rodwell 88), Navas, Nasri (Garcia 76), Aguero (Milner 69), Dzeko
Unused: Hart, Lescott, Richards, Negredo
Goals: Aguero (8), Toure (24, pen 74)
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero
City were out of the traps quickly in an attempt to better their away form and it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Some good work by Dzeko allowed Zabaleta to get in behind the West Brom defence and there the Argentine found his international teammate Aguero, who finished with a great side-foot effort.
West Brom tried to respond with two quick shots, but both were wide of Pantilimon’s goal, before Aguero had the chance to double the Blues’ lead. Dzeko brought the ball down on the edge of the box from a Kolarov chip into the middle and laid it off for his strike partner. The Argentine took a touch and tried to curl it inside the near post, but it was just wide.
However, some more brilliant passing from the visitors added the second. Kolarov played a beautiful low cross into the box and found Toure unmarked on the corner of the six-yard box. He opened his body up and nudged the ball across goal and into the bottom corner with his first touch.
With 33 minutes on the clock, City could – arguably should – have been out of sight. Dzeko was inches away from touching a great cross from Kolarov at the back post, before Aguero had an effort flicked around the post by Myhill. From the resulting corner, Dzeko had a free header from the edge of the six-yard box, but missed the target, before Fernandinho volleyed well over from 18-yards, despite having time and space.
Five minutes into the second half, Long went down in the box under a challenge from Kolarov and the referee waved away his protests, turning down the penalty appeals. It was a good decision, but City were lucky – as the striker had got in too easily.
As the hour mark approached, the home side had grown into the game, but were still yet to properly test Pantilimon. Several shots from range skewed over and wide, as Morrison and Amalfitano tried their luck from outside the box – none found the target.
With 74 minutes on the clock, Kolarov burst into the box on an overlapping run and, having nicked the ball past the defender, was tripped and the referee pointed to the spot. Toure stepped up – with Aguero having been substituted – and sent Myhill the wrong way to add City’s third.
Eight minutes later, West Brom had a great chance to pull a goal back. Demichelis and Kompany shut the door in the centre as Vydra tried to get through, but it deflected to Berahino. He shot, but it flicked off Zabaleta and looped over the crossbar.
The hosts did then open their tally with six minutes to play in a very bizarre fashion. Pantilimon stretched for a low cross from the by-line, but he couldn’t reach it and it fell to Kolarov at the back post. His clearance ricocheted back off his own goalkeeper and into the net, to reduce the deficit.
With just twenty seconds of the game left, West Brom added a second. Slack defending from City was to blame, as Demichelis got too tight to Anichebe, who spun the defender to get one-on-one with Pantilimon. There he belted it at the bottom corner and beat the goalkeeper. It was careless from City.
It was a close result, but nothing like a close game. A win away from home was welcome, but the two late goals are still a concern.