English Premiership

Tevez hat-trick sinks Norwich

2012-04-14 15:48
Carlos Tevez (File)

Norwich - Carlos Tevez smashed a brilliant hat-trick as Manchester City thrashed Norwich 6-1 at Carrow Road on Saturday to move within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Tevez's treble was the headline act but the Argentine's compatriot Sergio Aguero also netted two fine strikes and Adam Johnson bolstered City's goal difference in stoppage-time.

Substitute Andrew Surman had given Norwich hope when he scored to move the hosts within one goal of City early in the second half, but the Canaries were well and truly trounced by full-time.

Roberto Mancini's side were written off as title flops after last weekend's defeat at Arsenal, yet the pressure is now on United, shock losers at Wigan in midweek, to re-open a five-point lead by beating Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Sunday.

With 10 goals from their last two matches, City have at last rediscovered the swagger that marked their play at the start of the season and United will be well aware they can't afford to slip up before their showdown with Mancini's men at Eastlands on April 30.

City's controversial striker Mario Balotelli missed out as he served the second game of his three-match ban. But the Italian was not needed as Argentina duo Tevez and Aguero tore Norwich apart.

The visitors felt let down by the officials in the ninth minute when Tevez was booked for diving even though Norwich centre back Ryan Bennett stood on his ankle in the penalty area.

A minute later, referee Chris Foy waved away another City penalty appeal when Aguero tumbled under an Anthony Pilkington challenge.

But Norwich missed early opportunities as well. They could have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute when Pilkington whizzed by Pablo Zabaleta on a swift break but after cutting inside he curled his shot wide of the far post.

Joleon Lescott nodded a Grant Holt header off the line and the Norwich skipper also had a quick shot on the turn saved by Joe Hart.

City finally sparked into life as Gareth Barry went close, while David Silva forced a couple of good saves from Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Tevez scored his second goal in successive games after Norwich defender Elliott Ward lost the ball in midfield in the 19th minute.

Aguero pounced and set Silva on his way and he played it wide for Tevez.

Ruddy seemed to have Tevez's shot covered at his near post but the 20-yard strike took a dip and swerve in mid-air and rocketed past him.

Tevez and Aguero combined again for the second goal in the 27th minute as City ripped through Norwich once more.

Aguero played a one-two with his countryman who back-heeled the ball back into his path and the striker beat Ruddy from 20 yards for his 20th league goal of the season, but his first outside London or Manchester.

Surman got one back for Norwich with a low shot in the 51st minute, but Tevez leapt to nod in his second after Ruddy saved from Yaya Toure in the 73rd minute.

Aguero tucked away his second two minutes later with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area as City cut loose.

Tevez completed his hat-trick when a Ryan Bennett back-pass to Ruddy fell woefully short and the striker was deadly in his 80th minute finish.

Johnson added to the all-important goal difference with a simple finish after Aguero found Gael Clichy with a deep cross and he pulled the ball back across the area for the winger to side-foot in.

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