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

encounter.

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

league games.

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

season.

Fulham did not risk playing Dimitar Berbatov after the striker

picked up a groin injury in training.