NEWCASTLE UNITED 1, MAN CITY 3
Manchester City’s Barclays Premier League victory at Newcastle United was far from the formality the scoreline suggests.
It was not until Yaya Toure’s goal 12 minutes from time that City were able to relax after they finally saw off the spirited comeback from the Toon Army.
It looked as though City might pay the price for a failure to convert more of the first-half chances they created after Newcastle staged a valiant second-half fightback.
City manager Roberto Mancini was left to reflect on a job they had made more difficult than it ought to have been.
He said: “I don’t understand it because when you come to play here it is difficult.
“Newcastle are a very good team and they play very well. You need to score more goals. If you don’t it can happen like it did in the second half when it can change everything.
“I was very anxious. In the second half, Newcastle were better, but we still had the chances to close the gap.”
City survived because another slip up following their derby defeat the previous weekend would have been a major setback to their bid to retain their league title.
Mancini continued: “It was important because after any defeat, and particularly against United, it was good to win quickly and I don’t think a lot of teams can come to win here.”
City made a nervous start which was probably an aftershock from the loss in the derby.
And in the opening minutes, Joe Hart had to make a decent save to deny Papiss Cisse.
City were settled when Sergio Aguero gave them a 10th minute lead. Yaya Toure split open the Newcastle defence with a raking pass for Samir Nasri to race clear and set up Aguero who had an open goal.
They took charge, but were unable to turn possession and territorial advantage into goals until Javier Garcia found a route to goal six minutes before the break.
The Spaniard found the net with a powerful header from David Silva’s corner, despite the comical effort of David Santon to make a goalline clearance.
The second half was an altogether different story as Newcastle took charge and they were soon rewarded through Demba Ba’s 51st minute goal, a header after Fabricio Coloccini’s lob caught Hart in two minds.
Newcastle seized control and City endured some anxious moments before Yaya Toure sealed victory with a third goal.
Toure squeezed a shot through a crowd of players from Pablo Zabaleta’s low cross.