Nasri injured as City reclaim top spot
FA Premier League
Sunday 12 January 2014, 14.05 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Toure (Garcia 60), Fernandinho, Silva, Nasri (Milner 79), Negredo, Dzeko (Navas 52)
Unused: Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Clichy
Goals: Dzeko (8), Negredo (90+5)
Booked: Fernandinho, Zabaleta
Referee: Mike Jones
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Kolarov
Newcastle had started the game brightly and had the Blues under some early pressure, but weren’t able to test Hart. And, having been stoic in their resistance from the off, the visitors took the lead inside eight minutes – Kolarov slipped in behind the home side’s defence on the left flank and drove a low cross in towards Dzeko. The Bosnian hammered it into the net left-footed at Krul’s near post.
The home side, though, responded well: A free kick to the back post almost caught City napping, but a combination of Demichelis and Kolarov got the ball clear. Taylor then almost knocked a corner in at the near post but for a great touch by Negredo blocked it. Hart had to then react well to divert a Cabaye shot over the bar.
Then controversy: Newcastle pulled level with an effort from the edge of the box by Tiote, but City’s defenders appealed for an offside. The referee checked with his linesman and ruled that Hart’s vision had been blocked by a man in an offside position, however the replays showed Gouffran didn’t touch the ball and wasn’t in the goalkeeper’s line of sight. It should have stood.
That decision seemed to spur the hosts on and City couldn’t get a kick. The Blues were camped on the edge of their own box until the half time whistle, but fortunately for the visitors, Newcastle weren’t able to get a strike at Hart’s goal.
The second half, though, started as the first ended: Newcastle were pressuring and City were giving the ball away too cheaply. Remy was slipped through neatly, but some good defending from a combination of Kompany and Zabaleta ensure he couldn’t get a shot in. Anita hit an effort from range that Hart gathered at full stretch.
Negredo twice almost extended the City lead ten minutes into the half. First, a one-two between Silva and Nasri gave the Spanish striker chance to swivel and shoot, but he couldn’t get his effort on target. Then a free kick from Silva found Negredo’s head, but Krul pulled off a brilliant reactions block to keep it out.
Just before the hour, Hart was called into action again. Cabaye picked up a loose ball 30 yards out and, after knocking it out of his feet, belted it towards the far corner. The City keeper did well to push it around the post.
Cabaya was skating on extremely thin ice with two fouls – first on Navas and then on Kolarov, both of which could have seen him shown his second yellow card – but it was his play that sought out Remy in the middle. Kompany and Zabaleta got caught together and the striker was clean through. He belted it, but Hart produced a top save with his boot to keep it out.
With four minutes to play, City came close to winning the game – a free kick from Silva was flicked towards goal by Kompany and the rebound fell kindly for Fernandinho inside the area. His effort looped over Krul and crashed off the top of the bar, with Negredo unable to keep the ball in to shoot again. Two minutes later, a shot from the centre-forward was cleared off the line after good work by Silva.
The game, though, was won deep into seven minutes of stoppage time. A quick break by City as Newcastle piled men forward saw Milner slide it through for Negredo to race away from the back four. One-on-one, he got lucky, as his shot hit Krul and deflected off his own shin towards goal. It just needed touching into the empty net.