By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City secured third-spot in the Premier League and with it an automatic Champions League spot courtesy of a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on the final day of the season.
Micah unfortunately had to sit out the clash after tweaking the hamstring injury that has hampered him on and off this season, with Pablo Zabaleta coming in to fill the void.
However, even despite the set-back nothing would stop Roberto Mancini’s men from securing the result that ensured they are in the Champions League proper, capping off a fantastic two weeks which also saw them lift the FA Cup.
City could have grabbed the lead within the first five minutes after great play between Carlos Tevez and David Silva saw the former release a shot on goal, but Zat Knight was on hand to make the block and deny a certain goal before Vincent Kompany sent a free header over the ball shortly after.
At the other end Kevin Davies rose highest to connect to a cross with his head but the ball flew just wide of Joe Hart’s left-hand post, whilst Jonah Elmander’s blazing shot after fine work by Daniel Sturridge was tipped over by City’s stopper minutes after.
Davies missed another clear-cut chance from six yards with the goal at his mercy, but Gareth Barry saw that opportunity go begging and raised the stakes by missing the target from three yards out via a header.
Jussi Jaaskelainen was in fine form and he showed off his full roster of saves by first denying Yaya Toure after a fine charge forward by the Ivory Coast international, before climbing to his feet and blocking Tevez’s shot.
It took a fluke goal to edge City in front, Kompany thumping a header against Joleon Lescott and the ball in turn rebounding into the goal without the latter knowing anything about it.
With Fulham in front against Arsenal, everything was going City’s way, and they doubled their lead not long after half-time as big-money signing Edin Dzeko came off the bench to grab a second for his side.
Silva picked out the advancing Zabaleta with a sublime ball and the Argentine was able to cut it back for Dzeko, and the striker added a simple finish to make it 2-0.
Sturridge had been impressive for Bolton against the side he left to join Chelsea, but his afternoon took a sour twist as he was dismissed for a wreckless challenge on Dzeko with four minutes remaining, leaving the German writhing in agony.
There were celebrations in the City end as the final whistle was blown, and Mancini can reflect on a tremendous end to the season that saw the club achieve it’s two pre-season aims – silverware and Champions League football