Man City recovers to win 4-2 at Fulham in EPL
Manchester City substitutes Jesus Navas and James Milner
recovered a 4-2 victory at Fulham on Saturday after the visitors
threw away a two-goal lead in a rain-lashed English Premier League
Yaya Toure put City in front with his fourth goal from a free
kick this season and captain Vincent Kompany fired in City’s second
just before halftime.
But five minutes after the break City conceded possession near
the Fulham penalty area, and Kieran Richardson completed a rapid
counterattack to begin the hosts’ fightback.
In wild, windy conditions on the banks of the River Thames,
Fulham was gifted an equalizer in the 69th. Kompany inexplicably
sliced the ball past his own goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was recalled
after being dropped in league games since October.
But Navas restored City’s lead in the 78th when he slotted
through goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg’s legs.
And City ripped through the Fulham defense again five minutes
later as Milner scored to condemn Fulham to an eighth loss in nine
While Fulham is next from bottom, City rose provisionally into
second place, a point behind Liverpool.
”It was a really difficult match because the pitch wasn’t good
and it was very windy,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said.
City can be overtaken by either Arsenal or Chelsea, who play on
Monday, but the team’s status as the league’s most formidable
attack was reinforced here against the most porous defense.
While City has a leading-leading 55 goals, Fulham has conceded a
high of 32.
But away from the Etihad Stadium, City has averaged only a point
a game this season, and the intensity from the hosts was greater
from the outset.
The City defense was easily beaten after 13 minutes, as Adel
Taarabt forced Hart into making a fine diving save – one of several
that convinced Pellegrini to retain the goalkeeper for Thursday’s
match against Liverpool.
”At the moment he deserved to play today and he also deserves
to continue,” Pellegrini said. ”When I put (Costel) Pantilimon in
the starting XI I spoke with Joe and he understood that he was not
in a good moment.
”Maybe seven games after, one month after, he’s working very
hard, and I thought that he deserved another opportunity, and I
think he did it well.”
City’s opener came in the 23rd minute from a set-piece.
After Silva was brought down on the edge of the area, Toure
curled in a free kick off the underside of the crossbar.
City extended its lead in the 43rd. Silva’s free kick was met by
the unmarked Martin Demichelis at the far post. An initial header
was saved well by Stekelenburg, but the ball was pushed straight to
Kompany to fire in.
”The goals that we concede, from set plays, it’s not good
enough defending, especially the one just before halftime,” Fulham
manager Rene Meulensteen said.
”I was hoping the experience would kick in a bit from some of
these players, to steady the ship.”
That appeared to happen at the start of the second half.
Silva was tackled near the Fulham penalty area by Scott Parker,
allowing Fulham to surge forward and score. Taarabt rampaged down
the left flank past Demichelis who squared into the center for
Richardson to sweep the ball in.
City responded by taking off ineffective striker Dzeko, and
bringing Navas on, leaving Negredo as the lone striker.
But Hart was beaten again, this time by his own player. Sascha
Riether whipped a cross into the penalty, and Kompany managed to
turn the ball into his own goal.
Kompany’s blushes were spared, though, by Navas. The winger
raced onto Silva’s throughball, cut in from the right and slotted
through Stekelenburg’s legs from a tight angle.
And Milner ensured a comfortable conclusion for City, meeting
Negredo’s cross and netting his first league goal of the
Fulham did not risk playing Dimitar Berbatov after the striker
picked up a groin injury in training.