Ten-man City stay on top

2011-10-31 00:00

MANCHESTER — Manchester City punished an error-strewn performance from Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to clinch a 3-1 victory on Saturday to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the table.

Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Adam Johnson scored the goals for City, who were reduced to 10 men when captain Vincent Kompany was sent off for a foul, which led to a penalty duly converted by Stephen Hunt.

Hunt’s 75th-minute spot-kick reduced City’s lead to 2-1 and ensured a more anxious finale than should have been the case for the league leaders.

City took the lead after 51 minutes when Hennessey saw a routine clearance charged down by Sergio Aguero. The ball broke kindly for Dzeko, who had the simple task of steering the ball into an open net from the edge of the area.

Hennessey was also at fault after 66 minutes when Aguero found David Silva whose 18-yard strike was fumbled by the Wolves keeper, allowing Kolarov to react first and net the rebound from close range.

Finally, in the first minute of stoppage time, City’s nerves were eased after substitute Mario Balotelli broke down the right and squared the ball to Yaya Toure who, in turn, fed Johnson.

The England winger took his time before delivering a superb finish into the bottom left-hand corner.

City had seemed in the mood to continue where they left off in the 5-2 midweek League Cup romp at Wolves with Kolarov’s first-minute corner causing problems for the visitors and falling for Samir Nasri, on the edge of the area, whose terrific strike was tipped over, acrobatically, by Hennessey.

Perhaps the start was too comfortable for City, or at least for full-back Micah Richards, because he was badly at fault in the seventh minute when he did not control a simple through-ball to Hunt, whose pass allowed Kevin Doyle to send a low shot skidding just wide of the City goal.

Soon however, Silva and Aguero were linking neatly with the latter’s shot passing high and wide of the goal before Dzeko sent Richards down the right with the forward almost netting the resulting cross via a deflection from Roger Johnson.

Silva’s short pass found unmarked Aguero 20 yards out at the midpoint of the first half and his thunderous shot was turned round his post by another smart piece of goalkeeping from Hennessey.

Nasri showed persistence after 35 minutes when he dispossessed Adlene Guedioura and twisted into the Wolves area where his cross looked like being met by Dzeko until the forward appeared to be held down by Richard Stearman.

Finally Silva’s pass sent Dzeko sprinting ahead of the Wolves back-line with the City forward showing a neat turn of pace before shooting from the edge of the box and forcing Hennessey into the latest of a number of impressive saves.

Silva missed a near-post chance from Aguero’s cross soon after the restart although going a goal behind seemed to inspire their opponents.

Hunt beat the City defence just after the hour before delivering a centre which might have brought an equaliser.

But, with Aguero and Silva benefiting from increasing space at the back, City were a constant threat.

Even before Wolves’ consolation, they might have killed off the game when popular substitute Balotelli collected Aguero’s back-heel and curled a shot wide in the 71st minute.

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