Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea
Last Updated: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 21:49
A determined Manchester City came from behind to beat a plucky Chelsea side at the Etihad Stadium.
After Manchester United's thrashing of Wolves at the weekend, the need for a win tonight couldn't have been greater for City. However, with Chelsea unbeaten under new boss Roberto Di Matteo, their task didn't look like an easy one, and for much of the game that proved the case.
City started brightly, David Silva shooting over from inside the box after good play from Pablo Zabaleta and Samir Nasri slamming an effort from range against the bar, with Petr Cech beaten.
Nasri had another decent effort from range minutes later, his swerving attempt flying inches over the bar, but Chelsea's stubborn resistance, buoyed by disciplined play from Gary Cahill and David Luiz, proved frustrating for the home side throughout the first half.
The Blues nearly shot themselves in the foot when Frank Lampard played a square ball to Mario Balotelli, who dragged a shot inches wide of the far post after going one-on-one with Cech, but Chelsea entered the break fairly content with their first half defensive showing.
The second half saw City ease the pace of their attacking play in an attempt to impose more authority in the final third, but it was the visitors who took a shock lead, Cahill sending a low deflected effort past Joe Hart after a nice lay-off from Mata.
Roberto Mancini reacted by bringing on Carlos Tevez, to a mixed reception of boos and cheers, and his impact was immediate.
City were handed a penalty after a handball in the box from Michael Essien, and Sergio Aguero made no mistake slamming his effort home, and Tevez was on hand minutes later to set up the deserved winning goal, his nicely weighted pass finding the feet of the inspired Nasri.
The former Arsenal man made no mistake in flicking the ball past Cech to break the travelling supporters' hearts and close the gap on United at the top of the table. Chelsea, meanwhile, will need to regroup fast before their Saturday lunchtime clash against Spurs at Stamford Bridge.