By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Manchester City fought back from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium and secure a vital three points in their hunt for the Premier League title.
A deflected Gary Cahill goal midway through the second half separated the sides with just over 10 minutes remaining, but a Sergio Aguero penalty and classy Samir Nasri second sealed the win that ensures City remain just a point behind leaders and rivals Manchester United in the Premier League.
Micah captained the side and lined up in central defence in the absence of both Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott, whilst Carlos Tevez was named on the bench was the first time since his fall-out with Roberto Mancini.
Juan Mata went close early on as Chelsea started brightly, whilst Nasri latched on to a fine ball from Yaya Toure to flick the ball over Petr Cech, only for it to rebound off the crossbar.
The Frenchman was pulling the strings in the centre and another effort from 30-yards out flew a yard over the bar, whilst Mario Balotelli raced clean through on goal only to scuff his shot wide of Cech’s right hand post.
The first half was played at a frenetic pace but somewhat fizzled out as it approached half time, and Mancini switched things around by bringing off Balotelli and opting for an extra man in midfield in the form of Gareth Barry.
Nasri was in the thick of every decisive bit of action and he should have done better from the edge of the penalty area, picking up the cut back only to fire his shot high and wide. Minutes later an Aguero shot had the fans celebrating before the realisation that the ball had hit the side-netting, much to their disappointment, and from a subsequent corner the Argentina international half-volleyed just over.
City were certainly the better side, but it was the visitors that went ahead. From a Chelsea corner, the ball was eventually worked to Cahill who stuck a leg out at it and saw his shot deflected off Yaya Toure and wrong-foot Joe Hart to make it 1-0.
Fans on the red side of the city must have been looking forward to the widening gap in the league, but Mancini’s men weren’t about to relinquish their hopes of a title, and the manager immediately introduced Tevez to a mixed reception from the home faithful.
There was an obvious lift for he hosts when the striker stepped on the pitch, and within minutes they had an equaliser. Pablo Zabaleta’s fierce volley on the left was beaten down by the hand of Michael Essien, and Aguero calmly stepped up to convert the spot-kick and make it 1-1.
And as if written in the script, Tevez was to play a decisive part in City’s winner. It was he who deftly flicked the ball in to the path of Nasri’s run, and the Frenchman did the rest with an exquisite chip over Cech to make it 2-1 with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Having edged in front, City weren’t going to lose the lead, retaining possession in the dying minutes before the final whistle went to spark celebrations on the pitch and in the dug-out.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Toure, Clichy, Silva, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Nasri, Aguero, Balotelli Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Dzeko, Kolarov, Savic, Barry, Tevez
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Meireles, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Torres Subs: Turnbull, Essien, Drogba, Malouda, Bosingwa, Kalou, Sturridge