English Premiership

Man City climb to second

2012-10-27 20:48
Carlos Tevez (AFP)

London - Carlos Tevez's first goal since September 1 earned Manchester City an unconvincing 1-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, bringing Roberto Mancini some relief after a trying week.

Mancini, the City manager, made a half-time tactical switch that saw Tevez take up a deeper role, from which he scored with a superbly struck 61st-minute effort.

Gael Clichy cut in from the left and delivered the ball to Tevez, who dispatched an unstoppable right-footed shot that led to visiting goalkeeper Michel Vorm collecting a game-ending injury in the process.

A subsequent injury to City defender Micah Richards meant that the game finished with a Premier League record of 12 minutes and 42 seconds of injury time.

Mancini's tactics, particularly in defence, had been a burning topic in the build-up to the game, in the wake of the dispiriting 3-1 defeat at Ajax on Wednesday that almost certainly ended their Champions League interest for another season.

In response, the Italian sent City out in what appeared to be a straightforward 4-4-2 formation, perhaps an attempt to return to basics after Mancini criticised his players' ability to adapt to shifting tactics.

Defender Aleksandar Kolarov was pushed into a wide-left position, however, and clearly looked uncomfortable there, switching with Samir Nasri and moving onto the right wing before being replaced at half-time by Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli, along with Richards and Joleon Lescott, had declined to wear the 'Kick It Out' T-shirts sported by their team-mates before the game, as unrest over attempts to tackle racism in the game continues to simmer.

City's short-term concerns were about allowing their supporters to forget the disappointment of mid-week, but it was something they failed to do in the first half, with boos from a section of home fans greeting the half-time whistle.

It had taken City until the 38th minute to force Vorm into a save of note, the visiting keeper easily gathering a Tevez shot from just inside the area, although by this stage the Welsh team were also finding their feet in the attacking third.

Michu was denied a decent heading opportunity by a superb defensive clearance by Richards and the same Swansea player had the ball in the goal after 37 minutes, only for his effort to be ruled out for an obvious offside.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart was called into action five minutes before the interval, performing admirably as he sprinted from his line to block the progress of Michu, who had been played clean through by Ki Sung-yueng.

The introduction of Balotelli at half-time saw an instant improvement in City's play as, within seconds of the restart, Sergio Aguero unleashed a shot that flew just wide of the mark from the edge of the box.

Balotelli almost met a low Nasri cross in front of goal and the former Arsenal man then freed Balotelli to round Vorm, who did well to force the Italian to the byline before making an important save.

The game's pivotal minute arrived just before the hour as, first, Michu met a Pablo Hernandez cross with a stooping header that Hart pushed away, before Ki's follow-up shot was blocked by a defender.

Tevez's goal followed within two minutes and injury was added to insult when Vorm hurt himself as he dived, forcing him to depart on a stretcher to the benefit of substitute goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel.

City survived a scare when de Guzman shot narrowly wide after a terrible clearance from Nasri, but the game ended on a negative note for Mancini when Richards went down holding his knee and had to be stretchered off.

Read more on:    manchester city  |  epl  |  carlos tevez  |  soccer

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