Man City thrashes Fulham 4-1 in Premier League

Argentina striker Carlos Tevez scored two goals and set up

another as Manchester City routed Fulham 4-1 on Sunday to move

within three points of the lead in the Premier League.

Watched by his former national team manager Diego Maradona,

Tevez scored City’s first and last goals, in the fifth and 56th

minutes, at Craven Cottage.

Pablo Zabaleta made it 2-0 in the 32nd with a swerving

long-range effort, and Yaya Toure completed the first-half scoring

after running onto Tevez’s throughball in the 35th.

Zoltan Gera grabbed a 70th-minute consolation for Fulham, whose

manager Mark Hughes endured a miserable day against the club that

fired him last December.

The top of the standings is now bunched, with the leading four

teams – Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and City – separated by

three points.

After consecutive scoreless home draws – to United and

Birmingham – City manager Roberto Mancini, who replaced Hughes, had

come under heavy criticism for his perceived negative tactics.

He reacted by giving the often-isolated Tevez a strike partner

in Jo, who made his first start for City in the Premier League in

more than two years after costing 18 million pounds in July 2008,

and the team produced an attacking performance to savor in the

first half.

Tevez opened the scoring by netting his eighth goal of the

campaign, using his upper-body strength to beat Carlos Salcido to

Gareth Barry’s pass before spinning and slipping a neat finish past

goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

The early goal helped settle City, which dominated possession in

midfield and looked lively going forward. Left back Aleksandar

Kolarov was on the end of a flowing counterattacking move to force

a smart save out of Schwarzer in the 23rd.

It came as no shock when the second goal arrived. A weak

clearance by Fulham winger Damien Duff went straight to Zabaleta,

whose first-time 25-yard shot swerved beyond the reach of Schwarzer

and into the corner.

It was all too easy for City, which made it 3-0 when Tevez fed

Toure, whose first touch was sublime before he applied a low finish

into the far corner from an angle.

Fulham started the second half well but any hopes of a comeback

were dashed by Tevez.

The former Manchester United striker became the league’s top

scorer with nine goals by flicking a goal-bound shot by Zabaleta

over Schwarzer and high into the net from inside the six-yard

box.

The home crowd was given something to cheer about when a shot

from Gera flew past City goalkeeper Joe Hart via a deflection off

Kolo Toure, but the visitors comfortably saw the game out.