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.