Yaya Toure's 5 Most Important Manchester City Goals
Over four seasons at Manchester City, Yaya Toure has established himself as the ultimate big-game player. When league titles and cup finals are on the line, the towering Ivorian invariably steps up to the plate.
Typically employed as a holding player during his decorated spell at Barcelona, Toure’s transformation into a domineering midfield powerhouse continues to take the breath away. Crucial goals are a standout part of his armoury.
As a must-win trip to Everton lies in wait on Saturday—the kind of match Toure relishes—it feels like a good time to rank his top five strikes for City in order of importance.
5. Crystal Palace: Selhurst Park, April 27, 2014
A goal that might come to feel an awful lot more important in eight days’ time.
In the hour leading up to kick-off at Crystal Palace, City’s ailing title bid received two huge boosts. Defeat for leaders Liverpool against Chelsea put the destiny of the trophy back in their hands for the first time since the 3-2 loss at Anfield a fortnight earlier.
Toure sustained an adductor injury during that match but returned to Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-up at Selhurst Park. He produced a sumptuous cross for Edin Dzeko’s fourth-minute opener and provided the midfield control City lacked in his absence.
As half-time approached, Tony Pulis’ team remained in the game as the visitors repeated a troublesome recent habit of failing to build upon an early breakthrough. In the 43rd minute, Toure collected the ball deep inside his own half and little appeared on.
With speed of thought and movement, he exchanged passes with Dzeko and Samir Nasri before surging onto the latter’s return around the outside of Damien Delaney. The Palace defender was shrugged unceremoniously to the floor before Toure curled home an impeccable left-foot shot.
Following a tricky Easter, the 2-0 victory has City fans believing again. They believe because of Yaya Toure.
4. Sunderland: Wembley Stadium, March 2, 2014
Sunderland were well worth their 1-0 half-time lead in this season’s Capital One Cup final.
Earlier in the campaign, City suffered a fourth consecutive defeat at the Stadium of Light by the same scoreline, and their bogey team appeared set to torment them once again.
The Black Cats’ defensive lines were exceptionally well drilled and Pellegrini’s men had all but run out of ideas as the hour approached.
A meandering period of possession in the 55th minute saw Pablo Zabaleta work the ball back to Toure, who swept an astonishing 30-yard shot beyond Vito Mannone and into the top corner.
City were revitalised and Samir Nasri scored almost as impressively a minute later before Jesus Navas rounded off a 3-1 win and secured the first trophy of the Pellegrini era.
3. Stoke: Wembley Stadium, May 14, 2011
Manchester City headed to the 2011 FA Cup final with a 35-year trophy drought weighing heavily upon their shoulders.
Roberto Mancini’s team dominated proceedings but, aside from a glaring first-half miss by David Silva, clear chances were limited as Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth superbly marshalled the Potters' back line.
The Blues might have been really up against it had Kenwyne Jones capitalised on a rare foray forward for Stoke.
The tension inside the national stadium was palpable as the match entered its final 20 minutes.
In the 74th minute, Silva showed poise to keep an attack alive deep inside the Stoke box. Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez both unsuccessfully attempted to prod goalwards.
Toure would try nothing so subtle when the ball fell his way and crashed a left boot through the back of the ball to beat Thomas Sorensen and banish three-and-a-half decades of frustration with a 1-0 win. It was a landmark moment.
2. Manchester United: Wembley Stadium, April 16, 2011
City staggered into the FA semi-final on the back of a chastening 3-0 loss at Liverpool that left them without talisman Carlos Tevez.
Thanks to Toure’s 52nd-minute goal, they left the capital with a conviction that they could unseat their illustrious crosstown rivals at the summit of English football.
If not for some generous finishing from Dimitar Berbatov, City might have endured a truly miserable afternoon that began with them penned inside their own 18-yard box.
But the Blues slowly began to control possession and Toure the displayed anticipation to cut out a sloppy Michael Carrick pass, power to leave Nemanja Vidic in his wake and precision to slot beyond Edwin van der Sar.
Although victory against Stoke a month later ensured silverware, this 1-0 triumph over Manchester United cemented the belief that City could regularly challenge for honours against the best.
1. Newcastle: St James' Park, May 6, 2012
That Wembley belief from 12 months earlier carried City a long way.
Having led the Premier League for much of the season, the Blues recovered from an early spring slump to overtake United at the top as Vincent Kompany netted the only goal of April’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
The equation was simple: two wins from the remaining two games meant City’s first league championship for 44 years.
Newcastle stood as a formidable foe in the first of these encounters. Alan Pardew’s side were the surprise package of the season and chasing a Champions League spot following a sensational midweek win over Chelsea.
They were second best throughout as City rose to the occasion, but the would-be champions were unable to land a decisive blow.
Roberto Mancini turned to a plan B that had served him well throughout the campaign. Nigel de Jong was introduced to play at the base of midfield, unleashing Toure upon a tiring defence.
The Dutchman fed Toure in the 70th minute, who in turn exchanged passes with Sergio Aguero before superbly finding the bottom corner through an unerring 25-yard strike.
City’s midfield superstar added a second to close out the 2-0 win in what felt like a decisive triumph before the formality of a home match against relegation-threatened QPR.
Of course, things did not quite play out in this way. The iconic act of City’s title triumph belonged to Aguero.
But without the cooler, more calculated brilliance of Toure a week earlier there would have been no "Aguero Moment."