Balotelli, Milner score as City beats Everton 2-0
Manchester City needed late goals by substitutes Mario Balotelli
and James Milner to beat stubborn Everton 2-0 and keep the pressure
on fierce rival Manchester United at the top of the Premier League
Balotelli was introduced by City manager Roberto Mancini in the
60th and the Italy striker made a quick impact, latching onto
Sergio Aguero’s layoff eight minutes later and finding the bottom
corner via a deflection from Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
Milner wrapped up the win in the 89th, running onto David
Silva’s pass and slipping a low finish past goalkeeper Tim
City’s victory – its fifth in six league matches this season –
ended a run of four straight home defeats to Everton, which has
been the hosts’ bogey team in recent years.
”We never have an easy game against Everton,” City captain
Vincent Kompany said. ”But with the quality we have, it was just a
matter of patience. Today, we did exactly what we needed to
Everton, which started the day in sixth place, was threatening
an all too familiar shut-out at Eastlands before Balotelli’s
Buoyed by a run of seven wins in the last eight league games
against City, David Moyes’ side was successful in frustrating the
hosts with its ultra-defensive tactics and physical approach that
brought three bookings in the opening half hour.
One of those yellow cards was given to Jack Rodwell, who did a
stirling man-to-man marking job on Silva, often the instigator of
City’s attacking moves.
”We’ve seen other teams getting beat heavily by Manchester City
– we wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case and I thought for
long spells we did a good job,” Moyes said.
City only had fleeting glimpses of Everton’s goal in the first
half with Aguero skying a shot over the bar in the 17th before
bringing a diving save out of United States goalkeeper Tim Howard
in the 35th.
Everton succeeded in dampening the atmosphere early on but was
rarely an attacking threat itself, with Australia midfielder Tim
Cahill – playing as a lone striker – heading over Seamus Coleman’s
cross in the 54th with the team’s only genuine chance.
Balotelli, who scored in City’s 2-0 victory over Birmingham in
the third round of the League Cup on Wednesday, replaced the
ineffective Edin Dzeko in the 60th in a substitution that made all
Moments after Howard parried away a fierce shot from Samir
Nasri, Balotelli met Aguero’s layoff at the edge of the area with a
sidefooted effort that took a slight deflection off the leg of the
sprawling Jagielka and span into the bottom corner of the goal.
With Everton now having to attack, City found more space going
forward and Silva almost made it 2-0 when he thrashed a low shot
against the post in the 71st.
Howard then had to turn aside a powerful curling effort from
Yaya Toure in the 84th but City wasn’t to be denied a second.
Milner surged onto Silva’s sublime through-ball and finished by
shooting underneath Howard.
”It was hard to win this game,” Mancini said. ”We had a lot
of shots and we were unlucky in the first half. The second half we