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
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
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
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.