Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City
Last Updated: Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:21
Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City won 1-0 at Aston Villa to move within 12 points of Manchester United.
City withstood some early pressure from the hosts to get on top during the first half and Tevez, who only started because of an injury to Argentinian team-mate Sergio Aguero, grabbed the winner in stoppage time.
Villa battled to try and get back into the contest after the match but failed to test City keeper Joe Hart and the defeat leaves them stuck in the final relegation place.
Villa went close to taking the lead on 21 minutes when Christian Benteke got up well to meet a Charles N'Zogbia corner from the left but his powerful header was cleared off the line by Tevez.
City went up the other end and Jack Rodwell forced Brad Guzan to tip his angled drive over the bar before then limping off with a recurrence of an old hamstring injury.
City gradually came into the game as the half wore on with James Milner firing a free kick through the Villa wall only for Guzan to get down well and make the save on 32 minutes.
Pablo Zabaleta forced Guzan into another smart stop on 37 minutes when his effort from the right side of the Villa area was tipped onto the far post.
The American custodian then made two great saves in the space of a minute as he parried away Tevez's curling strike from the edge of the box which was heading towards the top corner, before getting a strong hand to turn away Edin Dzeko's effort inside the area on 41 minutes.
However the breakthrough came in first half stoppage time when Dzeko capitalised on a slip by Ciaran Clark before teeing up Tevez who coolly went round Guzan and fired past Clark who had got back to the goal line.
Villa started the second half brightly but City almost went two-up on 55 minutes when Dzeko again played in Tevez but the striker's attempt while slightly off balance was stopped on the line by Matthew Lowton.
Yaya Toure was the next player to test Guzan on 72 minutes as the Villa keeper got the merest of touches to divert the Ivorian's left-foot strike from just outside the area onto the post and Dzeko was flagged offside when he put in the rebound.
However one goal proved to be enough for City to keep their slim title aspirations alive.