English Premiership

Man City trundle on with win

2013-04-27 16:07
Yaya Toure (AFP)

London - Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure gave deposed Premier League champions Manchester City a 2-1 win at home to West Ham United on Saturday, although victory also featured an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Moments after being injured while making a save from West Ham striker Andy Carroll, Hart allowed a shot from the same player to squirm through his grasp, and his legs, as he gifted the visitors an injury-time consolation.

Earlier, Aguero's 16th goal of the season, his 11th in the Premier League, put the hosts in control after 28 minutes of a contest that was predictably subdued, coming at the end of a week in which City had finally seen their league title move across the city to Manchester United.

Samir Nasri exchanged neat passes with both Toure and David Silva on his way into the West Ham area, where, having reached the left-hand by-line, he pulled the ball back for Aguero to convert clinically from six yards.

City had to wait until the 83rd minute to be certain of the three points, when Toure collected a short pass from Nasri and sent a stunning 20-yard shot soaring into the roof of the West Ham goal, but victory should have been far more comfortable.

Moments after the opening goal, defender Pablo Zabaleta almost doubled the lead when West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen failed to hold a sharp, long-range shot from Nasri.

The Finn made up for his error, however, with a reflex block to deny the Argentine's follow-up attempt.

There was also a gilt-edged chance for Aguero mid-way through the half, after Silva's pass had been deflected into his path, but on this occasion, the City forward hit the foot of the post from 12 yards when a goal looked a certainty.

In response, Carroll placed a header over the crossbar, although the forward's major contribution to the first half was a trip on Silva that earned him a 19th-minute caution; the fourth consecutive game in which he has been booked.

The visitors opened the second half in more enterprising fashion, although City came closest to adding to the goals tally, after 54 minutes, when Nasri's excellent pass split the West Ham defence and played in Carlos Tevez, who showed poor technique in flashing a shot over the bar from eight yards.

Tevez returned the compliment six minutes later with a pass that put through the Frenchman, whose fierce shot from the corner of the six-yard area was well saved by Jaaskelainen.

As the City pressure mounted, Tevez was again denied when a desperation block from Joey O'Brien stopped his six-yard shot after more good approach play from Aguero.

West Ham's increased desire to commit men forward was allowing City more room to play and yet another incisive counter-attack ended with Tevez delivering a superb low cross from the right with which Nasri somehow failed to connect from point-blank range, with an open net gaping.

Wayward efforts from James Collins and Carroll threatened the home goal late in proceedings, before the on-loan Liverpool striker embarrassed Hart with a powerful shot from 12 yards.

Read more on:    manchester city  |  epl  |  yaya toure  |  sergio aguero  |  soccer

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