LONDON: Manchester City are one ‘easy’ home game against struggling Queens Park Rangers away from clinching their first league title since 1968 – and at the prized expense of neighbours and champions United.
Manager Roberto Mancini saw his men follow their oil-financed dream by going away to defeat Newcastle United 2-0 with a two goals in the last 20 minutes from the outstanding Yaya Toure.
City went into the game leading second-placed United on goal difference and conscious that Newcastle would be tough opponents as they pursued a Champions League place.
But they are the league’s top scorers, they boast the tightest defence and have achieved the double over United for only the second time in 42 years. By general consensus they would deserve to win the title after having been the most consistent team over the length of the season.
Mancini made no secret of his positive intentions by starting with both his Argentinian strikers, Sergio Aguero and rehabilitated Carlos Tevez. He was rewarded to the extent that City dominated the first halfhour but they created few chances, apart from a Gareth Barry shot which was cleared off the goal-line by Davide Santon.
Towards halftime Newcastle, who had started fearfully, began to raise their game at last. Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba looked permanent lurking dangers and some snappy tackling kept World Cup Final referee Howard Webb busy trying to keep tempers under control.
The second half continued in the same tight manner though, ominously for Newcastle, City playmaker David Silva began to find more space to tease the home defence. Simultaneously a mass of substitutes began to warm up on the touchline as managers Alan Pardew and Mancini started pondering ways and means to achieve the breakthrough which both teams needed.
Mancini replaced ineffective Samir Nasri in midfield with Nigel De Jong. That allowed Yaya Toure to move further forward and the move paid off within minuites as he struck home a low, deflected 25m drive after a one-two with Aguero.
Four minutes later Aguero, clear with only Tim Krul to beat, shot wide of an otherwise open goal.
That could have been a costly miss as Newcastle piled the pressure on Joe Hart. But the corner they forced in the 88th minute backfired. Vincent Kompany cleared, Aguero raced away down the right. City switched the ball swiftly on to Nigel De Jong and Gael Clichy who crossed for Toure to score his and City’s second, killing goal.
Mancini said: “I think we deserved to win but it was a difficult game because Newcastle are a good team. I will only feel confident [about the title] after the QPR game . . .”
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