MAN CITY 1, EVERTON 0
Manchester City’s victory against Everton, which cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to three points, was overshadowed by the injury sustained by star striker and talisman Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine left the field in tears after being injured in the opening minutes of the hard-earned victory against the Toffees which was secured through a Yaya Toure penalty.
And City later confirmed Aguero’s knee ligament injury will almost certainly keep him out of Wednesday’s vital Champions League group decider against AS Roma.
City will be hoping the injury won’t sideline the striker for a lengthy period such is his importance to the team given he has already scored 19 goals for the team.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted the injury to Aguero is a blow in his current vein of form saying: “It is impossible to know how long he will be out. He has a problem with a knee ligament, but tomorrow we will know better how serious it will be.
“He will probably miss the game against Roma because, when you have a problem with a ligament, it is difficult to recover in three days.
“Of course it is a big problem as Sergio is in a very good moment for the team.”
Pellegrini added that it was heartening to win the game with a depleted side.
He continued: “It was good to beat a very good Everton team without five important players. I think the way we won today is good for the trust of the team.
“May be we had the chance to score a second goal while I was also pleased for the defence which has also been criticised but we defended well.
“Of course to play an important game without so many players is a difficult challenge, but I am not complaining as that is why we have a squad.
“We will try to win in Rome to continue in the Champions League.
City’s manager also explained that it is important to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea.
He continued: “The win against Everton was important for lots of things. Chelsea lost and it was important to try and recover points to be near the leaders.
“December is a difficult month as we play seven Premier League games. You don’t win the title, but it is a key month for the next year.”
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was unhappy with the penalty which cost his side victory believing it was simply the coming together of bodies.
He also thought City could easily have had two players sent off in the opening half – Eliaquim Mangala for an x-rated challenge in the back of Samuel Eto’o and Fernando for a dangerously high kick against Gareth Barry.
City made three changes from the side which won 4-1 at Sunderland in midweek as Fernandinho, Dedryck Boyata and Stevan Jovetic were replaced by Fernando Reges, Mangala and James Milner.
City suffered a massive early blow when they lost Aguero who hurt his left knee in the second minute after being caught by Seamus Coleman. He was replaced by youngster Jose Pozo who was making only his third appearance, all as a substitute.
After a low-key and dreary opening, City took the lead midway through the half after winning a soft penalty when Milner was shoved off the ball by Phil Jagielka and Toure fired home the resulting spot kick low to the right of keeper Tom Howard for his sixth goal of the season.
City could easily have been awarded a second first-half penalty when, in stoppage time, Seamus Coleman clearly looked to have handled the ball in the box.
Pozo almost scored a first Premier League goal soon after the restart, but Tim Howard fortuitously saved well with his legs when diving in the opposite way to the diving keeper.
Everton were denied an equaliser eight minutes from time by the brilliance of Joe Hart who dived full length low to his left to turn away a shot from Romelu Lukaku. It was his first serious save of the game, but one of massive importance as City held on for a crucial three points.