Manchester City showed the resolve of champions on Saturday as they defeated Fulham, 4-2, at Craven Cottage.
Manuel Pellegrini's side were rescued by a dynamic blast from Jesus Navas in the 78th minute.
Navas, who came on in the 58th minute for Edin Dzeko, received a pass from David Silva on the right end of the penalty area before he beat Fulham keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Spanish winger saved his skipper, Vincent Kompany, from an embarrassing post-game interview as the City captain was on the wrong end of a brutal own goal in the 69th minute.
Due to a combination of the elements and a poor clearance, Kompany sent the ball bouncing into the left corner of the net and with that, he handed the hosts plenty of hope.
Kompany scored for his own side as well in the first half as he netted the second City goal of the match in the 43rd minute.
The centre-back pounced on a rebound from a Martin Demichelis shot and handed his side a two-goal lead heading into halftime.
Yaya Toure scored the other goal of the first half on a free-kick in the 23rd minute, which marked the fourth time the Ivorian had scored on a direct free-kick this season.
Fulham pounced early in the second half through a Kieran Richardson strike, but once Navas struck gold late in the match, their comeback hopes were washed away for good.
To add to the Cottagers' misery, James Milner scored in the 83rd minute to continue City's terrific goalscoring record this season.
While all is well on the offensive end for City, they still have some defensive concerns as they have recorded just one clean sheet on their travels in league play.
Man City have kept only 1 clean sheet away from home this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2013
Key Player Grades:
Vincent Kompany: B
The City captain did make quite the egregious error on the second Fulham goal, but other than that slip-up, he played a strong match.
The Belgian proved that he is always a threat on the offensive end as he powered forward to clean up the mess from the free-kick in the 43rd minute.
Adel Taarabt: B-
Taarabt was the best player on the pitch for the hosts, but he was very selfish throughout the first half.
Once the Moroccan finally decided to play nice with others, Fulham began their comeback as the forward provided Richardson with an assist on the first goal by the hosts.
Jesus Navas: A-
Navas may have spent just 32 minutes on the pitch, but he made a stellar impact for the Citizens.
By coming on to the pitch for Dzeko, Navas allowed his team to play with more width, and that eventually led to the two second half goals.
Both teams will be in action on Boxing Day as Manchester City host Liverpool while Fulham travel to Carrow Road to play Norwich City.
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