Manchester City 2-0 Fulham: As It Happened; City Wins Comfortably, Not Easily
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Premier League, Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Scorers: Silva (Man City) 2', 69'
Man City: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Clichy, Nastasic, Milner, Garcia, Barry, Silva, Dzeko, Tevez
Substitutions: Nasri 63' (Zabaleta); Aguero 81' (Tevez); Lescott 88' (Silva)
Fulham: Schwarzer, Hangeland, Richardson, Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Karagounis, Duff, Berbatov, Ruiz, Dejagah
Substitutions: Briggs 67' (Richardson)
Manchester City took early hold of the contest through the first of David Silva's two goals. But the outcome was in doubt until Silva's second tally in the 69th minute allowed a frigid crowd at the Etihad to sigh in relief.
City had a number of chances to add to their goal differential, but insufficient efforts from Edin Dzeko (who struggled, in the main) and Sergio Aguero (back from injury for a ten-minute cameo) ultimately left City with its 2-0 win.
Many thanks for joining me for MCFC 2-0 FFC. Please stay with Bleacher Report for a full match report and additional analysis as we have this match and the remainder of the Premier League covered in full.
With that, many thanks for being here for Manchester City 2-0 Fulham. Keep it here on Bleacher Report for a post-match report and further analysis to come. In the immortal words of Sir Ian, "bye for now."
For the moment, then, City pulls within four points of Manchester United. All eyes will be on White Hart Lane tomorrow as Spurs try to earn a result against United in what is arguably the match of the day tomorrow (apologies to Chelsea and Arsenal.)
So despite a relatively shaky effort from the homestanding Sky Blues, at day's end it is a comfortable 2-0 victory over an opponent that never forced a save from Joe Hart.
Fittingly, the match ended with Fulham having earned a corner...but the referee blew the whistle anyway.
FULL TIME Manchester City 2-0 Fulham.
90'+3 Dzeko shanks a gimme in front of a vacated goal after a wonderful pass from Clichy. As I write that, Darke says Dzeko "got the sand wedge out." So validating, to see it exactly how the great Sir Ian Darke saw it.
90' Four minutes of added time, attributable no doubt to the Zabaleta knack and the goal from Silva. "Academic," is how Darke describes the added time. Hard to think much will happen in the last moments.
90' City perhaps "keeping the powder dry" today, per Darke. Aguero gets another opportunity but pulls it comfortably wide.
88' Following a big strike from Milner just over the bar, Silva comes off for Joleon Lescott to a warm round of applause. The only real warmth in the ground, for the no-contest Man of the Match.
86' And as the time melts away, the only real drama left is whether Silva can get a third. Aguero is released for a mini-breakaway by Dzeko, but Aguero is at a sharp angle by the time he controls the ball such that he can only tap the strike feebly.
84' Darke and McManaman observe that Joe Hart has not had to make a save to this point. "He must be cold," Darke says. Everyone looks pretty cold there. Fulham's XI must be positively freezing. Hart will be very happy with the clean sheet if it stays this way, though.
81' And here is Aguero, on for Tevez. It must be said that Tevez put it a very good shift in this match. His touch to Silva for the second goal was class.
78' City breaks out from a poor Fulham pass, leading to a left-footed strike by Dzeko into the side netting. It might be time for Mancini to make a couple more substitutions and grind some more clock. Sergio Aguero is warming up; exactly the sort of appearance you would expect for him today.
75' So normal service restored at the Etihad now. This match is still no Rembrandt from City's perspective. Incredibly they are still trailing in possession. But Silva's two excellent finishes figure to be enough, even with fifteen minutes plus some stoppage time left.
70' Silva then misses the hat trick by inches, after being sprung by a great diagonal pass from Tevez. Oh well.
Silva's goal comes from a fairly benign-looking touch from Tevez. Silva turned on the jets, though, and beat two defenders into the area, kissing the finish off the far post and in. Beautiful goal, for sure. A striker's finish.
69' GOAL! DAVID SILVA, HIS SECOND OF THE DAY.
67' Briggs comes on for a fallen Richardson, who jogs off. As that goes on, Darke and McManaman note that Liverpool is up 4-0. So this match figures to retain its audience by default.
65' Yellow card for Javi Garcia for a relatively insignificant contact.
63' Off comes Zabaleta, who was in fact significantly bothered by the contact with Hangeland. Samir Nasri comes on; James Milner slides to right back for the moment.
61' Sublime to the ridiculous for Javi Garcia, who runs well up the right side only to underhit the cross to Tevez. Another opportunity gone begging.
60' Great chance for Dzeko at close range off the corner saved somewhat easily by Schwarzer.
58' City finally enjoy a minute or so of possession, only to see Zabaleta stanch any possible momentum by staying on the ground after a collision with Hangeland. In fairness, Zabaleta is no doubt sore after that bump...but Hangeland was not carded, and City would have liked to take the resulting corner kick straightaway.
56' Yellow card for Richardson for a foul on Milner, which leads to a free kick for City from not too dangerous an area. Berbatov helpfully clears.
55' Darke and McManaman ably note that as the minutes tick off, Mancini might be tempted to substitute with more defense-oriented players, take his 1-0 home win and live for another day.
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