City close gap at the summit

Manchester City were grateful for a penalty save from Joe Hart
and goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez as a 2-0 win over
Chelsea allowed the defending Premier League champions to claw back
some ground in the title race.

Having given away a second-half spot-kick with a foul on Demba
Ba and then avoided a possible red card, England No.1 Hart
responded by saving his international team-mate Frank Lampard’s
attempt from 12 yards.

That set the stage for Toure and substitute Tevez to go on and
win the game and allow City to continue to cling to the hope of
catching table-topping Manchester United.

United had temporarily moved 15 points clear with their win at
Queens Park Rangers on Saturday but Roberto Mancini’s City reduced
that deficit by three points.

Both managers had gone into the game under considerable pressure
but Mancini ended it far happier than Chelsea counterpart Rafa
Benitez, who suffered more abuse from fans.

Jack Rodwell made only his third City start and he played a part
in a positive start by the home team, who had their first shot
within 40 seconds as Yaya Toure took aim from the edge of the area
but Petr Cech saved easily.

Despite their early dominance, it was 15 minutes before City
really tested Cech as Matija Nastasic went forward for a corner but
the goalkeeper dealt with the Serbian’s header before then doing
the same from Rodwell later in the half.

City went into the second half with the same determination but
Sergio Aguero’s acrobatic volley from David Silva’s cross went well
wide.

The game’s pivotal moment then came in the 50th minute as City
switched off at the back and Ba raced on to a long ball from deep
before shrugging off Kolo Toure and being brought down by the
onrushing Hart.

Referee Andre Marriner immediately pointed to the spot but
importantly felt Ba was just moving away from goal and did not show
Hart a card, allowing the goalkeeper to stay on and save Lampard’s
penalty.

The game opened up and City made the decisive breakthrough just
after the hour when Yaya Toure jinked into the penalty area before
making space to curl a low finish beyond Cech and in at the far
post.

Chelsea made a double change in response, with Lampard, after a
frustrating game by recent standards, making way along with Eden
Hazard for Victor Moses and Oscar.

But it was City substitute Tevez who made the most dramatic
impact, putting the game beyond the visitors with a superb strike
from outside the area five minutes from time.