Man City stays top after beating Norwich 2-1 in EPL
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester City needed a late penalty from Yaya Toure to secure a 2-1 win over 10-man Norwich that kept the team atop the Premier League.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart’s error gifted Norwich’s Cameron Jerome an unlikely equalizer seven minutes from time at the Etihad Stadium.
City had looked in control before that after finally breaking the resilient Canaries with a firm header from Nicolas Otamendi after 67 minutes.
But Hart then dropped the ball after claiming it from a cross and Jerome equalized.
Norwich had captain Russell Martin sent off for blocking Raheem Sterling’s shot with his arm and Toure rifled home the resulting spot kick in the 89th.
City was awarded a second penalty in injury time but Aleksandar Kolarov missed.
Norwich was thrashed 7-0 on its last visit to the Etihad two years ago and set out to avoid a repeat and sat deep to frustrate the hosts.
But openings inevitably came and Wilfried Bony missed three good chances in the first half. John Ruddy saved one of them but two others were blasted wide.
Vincent Kompany headed wide from a corner and City’s frustration continued after the break as Bony was denied another shooting chance by a well-timed tackle by Sebastien Bassong.
Raheem Sterling was summoned from the bench after 54 minutes and the hosts eventually made their breakthrough from a set-piece midway through the second half.
Kevin De Bruyne delivered an excellent corner from the right and Otamendi, hovering near the penalty spot, rose unchallenged to power a firm header past Ruddy.
De Bruyne was withdrawn soon after as City boss Manuel Pellegrini perhaps started to turn his attention towards Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Sevilla.
City slipped into cruise control mode and were punished for a rare Hart gaffe.
The England number one looked to have claimed Robbie Brady’s cross from the right but dropped the ball as he landed and Jerome pounced from close range.
Norwich had just minutes to hold on but Ruddy cracked as he lost the ball under pressure from Fernandinho on the edge of the area.
Fernandinho went down on the edge of the area under Ruddy’s challenge but the ball rolled on to Sterling. His snap-shot was blocked by the arm of Martin and referee Robert Madley immediately pointed to the spot and brandished the red card.
Toure rifled home the penalty but that was not the end of the drama in what proved a chaotic finish.
Hart atoned for his earlier error by denying Martin Olsson with a fine save in injury time and Toure appeared to react angrily to being substituted by Pellegrini.
City was then awarded a second penalty as Sterling was tripped by Brady but Kolarov shot wide with the last kick of the game.