By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City were emphatic as they cruised to a 4-1 away win against Mark Hughes’ Fulham to move into the Champions League places.
Unfortunately for Micah, he missed out after picking up a rib injury whilst on England duty, and Pablo Zabaleta took up his position on the right with Diego Maradona watching from the stands.
A tit for tat exchange in the opening minutes of the game gave little away, but City were in front with just six minutes on the clock as top scorer Carlos Tevez grabbed a goal.
Gareth Barry found his teammate with an inch perfect ball, and the Argentina international did the rest with a fine finish.
Fulham did venture forward in response but City’s defence was holding firm, whilst Aleksander Kolarov went close with a smashing effort that required the full attention of Mark Schwarzer.
And with the Cottagers toiling without effort, City grabbed a second – and some second it was. Pablo Zabaleta latched on to a loose ball 20-yards out and the defender put his foot right through it, the ball sailing into the top corner to make it 2-0 to the Eastlanders.
Fulham were reeling, and Roberto Mancini’s side weren’t about to let their advantage slip. Instead, they extended their lead through Yaya Toure in a whirlwind attack as the Ivory Coast midfielder utilized Tevez before slotting the ball into the corner.
The hosts didn’t have an answer for City’s ongoing attacks, ad the visitors looked dangerous particularly down the left as Kolarov charged forward time and time again.
The Cottagers returned from the interval with renewed confidence but everything they threw at City was well marshaled by Vincent Kompany and co., although a Zoltan Gera header did force Joe Hart into a save to his left.
There was a warning, though, that City hadn’t rested on three goals as Tevez was put clean through on goal, though he should have perhaps played to a teammate instead of electing to go for goal, and Schwarzer made the block.
However, the diminutive forward made amends a minute later as he did grab City’s fourth and his own second, capitalizing on Schwarzer’s spilling of Zabaleta’s powerful long range drive and flicking into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for City, despite their best efforts they weren’t to keep a clean sheet as Gera maneuvered himself to greet a cross curled in and fire past Hart from 20-yards, though a full Fulham fight back was quelled by City’s firm defence.
The final whistle went as Hughes faced up to defeat against his former club, and for Mancini’s men they now sit fourth in the table as we near the haf way point in the season.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Salcido, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Gera, Kamara, Dikgacoi, Greening.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Barry, Jo, Tevez, Silva. Subs: Given, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Vieira, Boyata.