Clinical City crush poor Rovers
Balotelli drilled home City's second just before the hour and ran the home defence ragged in what was City's perfect riposte to the midweek controversy involving Carlos Tevez. Adam Johnson's wonder-goal and late strikes from Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic wrapped up City's second half master-class leading furious Rovers fans to chant for the dismissal of boss Steve Kean. Despite accepting Edin Dzeko's apology for his outburst at being substituted in midweek, Roberto Mancini had dropped the Bosnian to the bench and opted to give Balotelli his chance. It was an inspired decision with Balotelli looking by far the liveliest of City's attacking options, particularly when Sergio Aguero limped off injured on the half-hour. Rovers had started solidly enough but it quickly became apparent they would have to guard against City's speed and sharpness, with Chris Samba cutting out a dangerous Vincent Kompany cross. The visitors had their first real chance in the 10th minute when David Silva cut into the box from the left and his cross was parried by Paul Robinson into the path of Balotelli, who blazed over. Rovers responded two minutes later with a swinging cross from Morten Gamst Pedersen on the left, which was aimed for the head of Samba before being cut out by Joleon Lescott. Junior Hoilett's pace troubled the City rearguard in the 16th minute as he scampered over the half-way line and sent Yakubu on the left, but he was denied by a fine challenge by Milner. For all their neat possession, Mancini's men were struggling to unduly threaten the Rovers defence, with Silva guilty of spooning a 25th minute half-chance high over the bar. City's striking options, already diminished by the suspension of Tevez, were further hit when Aguero limped off with an apparent groin strain. Nasri came on to replace Aguero, and his first act was to screw a low shot towards the Rovers goal which was deflected out for a corner by David Goodwillie. City's inability to find the cutting final ball surfaced again in the 35th minute when a fine move involving Milner and Nasri petered out when Samba beat Balotelli to a clearance in the box. Balotelli stepped up his game towards the end of the first half, flashing a curling 37th minute effort wide then zipping in front of Samba to shoot into the side-netting. City looked sharper at the start of the second half, with Silva shooting across the face of goal moments after the restart, then Balotelli driving a right-foot shot against the post. City finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when Johnson picked up a half-cleared Kolarov corner on the edge of the box and swung a superb left-foot shot into the top corner. And City extended their lead three minutes later when Balotelli got the goal his performance deserved, stealing in front of Steven Nzonzi to prod home a cross from the left by Nasri. Nasri swept home City's third in the 74th minute after good work from Silva in the box, sparking a furious reaction from sections of the home fans who chanted for Kean's dismissal. Substitute Mauro Formica forced the first real save out of Joe Hart with 15 minutes left on the clock then Yakubu blazed high over the bar but it was all in vain. City scored their fourth three minutes from time when Nasri sent in a corner from the left and substitute Stefan Savic bundled the ball home through a crowded box.