English Premiership

City reach 100 goals in style

2014-01-18 19:35
Edin Dzeko (AP Photo)

Manchester - Record-chasing Manchester City enjoyed a day of milestones on Saturday as Edin Dzeko claimed his team's 100th goal of the season in a 4-2 win over Cardiff City.

The City forward had his opening goal ratified by goal-line technology, in what was apparently the first time in Premier League history that the system has been called upon decisively to award a goal.

Despite a swift Cardiff equaliser, Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero also got on the scoresheet as City took their tally for the season to an impressive 42 goals in 11 home games at the Etihad Stadium.

The result lifted Manuel Pellegrini's side up to second place in the league table, a point behind leaders Arsenal.

City only had to wait 14 minutes to record their 100th goal in all competitions, although it fell far short of the sort of quality that has been the hallmark of their play for much of this campaign.

David Silva controlled a throw-in and appeared to handle the ball in the process before darting past a clumsy challenge from Gary Medel and reaching the byline.

The Spaniard's pull-back found Dzeko six yards from goal and the Bosnian's mishit shot just bobbled into the goal before being hacked clear.

An electronic signal sent to referee Neil Swarbrick's wristwatch confirmed that the ball had crossed the line, with Hawkeye video replays shown in the stadium corroborating his decision.

Cardiff surrounded the official, furious that the handball had not been spotted, but they could have already conceded by then.

Dzeko had a chance blocked after 30 seconds and appealed for a penalty as he tussled with Kevin McNaughton, while the City forward then forced David Marshall into a diving save.

Marshall even had to contend with his own players, saving well to prevent defender Ben Turner turning into his own goal after 10 minutes, before Alvaro Negredo almost turned another Silva pass into the Cardiff goal.

Negredo was booked for a late challenge on Aron Gunnarsson, but the striker was soon back to threatening the opposition goal, steering a superb first-time shot just wide with the outside of his left boot.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart had been untroubled, but in the 29th minute he found himself picking the ball out of his net.

Kevin Theophile-Catherine chipped a ball down the right wing and Gunnarsson found Craig Noone with a neat pass inside Martin Demichelis.

The Cardiff man then worked his way, far too easily, past Vincent Kompany before stunning the Etihad into silence by shooting past Hart.

There was no panic from City, however and, within four minutes Navas had restored their lead after Toure sent Dzeko clear with a delicately weighted pass.

The stage appeared set for City to drive home their advantage in the second half, but Cardiff continued to threaten, with Jordon Mutch twice calling Hart into action.

Silva came close at the other end, following some superb footwork in the Cardiff area, but a Noone counter-attack, exploiting a dreadful missed tackle from Demichelis, ended with Hart again coming to City's rescue.

Finally, after 76 minutes, City earned the breathing space they desperately needed thanks to the marauding Toure, who started the decisive move with a strong tackle deep inside his own half.

The midfielder advanced all the way into the Cardiff area, where he played a one-two with substitute Aguero before burying a 15-yard shot.

Inevitably, Aguero would not be denied as Cardiff finally capitulated.

Two minutes later, Toure returned the favour to the Spaniard with a 30-yard pass that Aguero controlled superbly before checking past Steven Caulker and finishing from eight yards.

Fraizer Campbell completed the scoring in injury time when he ghosted past Demichelis to convert a Magnus Wolff Eikrem corner from four yards.

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16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
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Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
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