Premier League – Manchester City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers thanks to goals from Carlos Tevez and Javier Garrido to rise two points short of fourth place in the Premier League.
Tevez struck twice to make it eight goals in seven matches, sandwiching a superb free-kick from substitute Garrido as new boss Roberto Mancini sealed consecutive clean-sheet wins and a first on the road for City since August.
The score-line was harsh on Wolves, who matched City for much of the game and felt aggrieved at not being given an offside in the build-up to Garrido’s free-kick.
But City were atypically solid at the back, with Shay Given largely untested, while after going 2-0 up they played some glorious football.
The first half was a scrappy affair that saw Wolves match their illustrious visitors, giving them little breathing space and matching them for shots on goal, although neither keeper was particularly tested.
Chris Iwelumo was a troublesome physical presence up front as Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made five changes from the side that lost to Arsenal.
For City, Craig Bellamy was restored to the starting line-up after his high-profile benching in the win over Stoke City as Roberto Mancini rested Robinho, who has become infamous for subdued performances away from home.
The Wales striker was taunted throughout by the home support but was City’s brightest spark, although incurred their gleeful jibes on the half hour when he fired over from close range after Tevez’s cross was deflected into his path.
Three minutes later they were ahead though, and it was created by a moment of magic from Bellamy, who stepped over Martin Petrov‘s pass, spun away from Jody Craddock and fired a low ball to Tevez, whose shot took a wicked deflection off Christophe Berra to spin past Marcus Hahnemann.
Wolves were unfortunate to go into half-time a goal down, and they worked even harder in a second 45 minutes that saw them trade chances with City.
Bellamy somehow clipped his finish wide of the far post after Petrov’s glorious through-ball sent him clear, Iwelumo had an effort blocked over after a sweeping passing move by his team-mates, Tevez curled one too close to Hahnemann and Kevin Doyle was denied by Given after Micah Richards and Kolo Toure dilly-dallied in a retrospective nod to former days at City.
The visitors got the break though, and it was a controversial one.
On 69 minutes Garrido, who had come off the bench to feature for only the second time this season, curled a clever free-kick around the wall and into the bottom left.
Michael Mancienne’s foul on Gareth Barry to give away the free-kick was not Wolves’ issue – they were angry that, in the build-up, Bellamy was yards offside when a long ball was played towards the Wolves box.
But the flag could not be raised as the ball never reached the Welshman, Craddock opting to head clear only for the ball to drop to Barry, who exchanged passes with the now-onside Bellamy before being felled.
After Garrido’s marvellous strike, City turned on the style.
One move saw them retain possession for eighty seconds without Wolves getting close to touching the ball, while a superb one-touch move involving Petrov, Nigel De Jong and Bellamy sent Tevez clean through but he somehow dinked his finish wide of the right-hand post.
Tevez sealed the win with four minutes left, rifling a low shot into the bottom right after good work from sub Robinho.
City stay sixth, one goal behind Aston Villa who have the same number of points, while Wolves stay just clear of the relegation zone.
Reda Maher / Eurosport