Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 7 November 2010, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Boateng, K Touré, Kompany, Zabaleta (Kolarov 88), de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, Balotelli, Silva (A Johnson 68), Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Richards, Vieira, Milner, Adebayor
Goals: Balotelli (20, 26)
Booked: de Jong, Barry, Balotelli, Zabaleta
Sent Off: Balotelli
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: David Silva
It was the home side who started the brighter, knowing that the visitors were feeling somewhat delicate after a poor run of results. But, West Brom’s series of corners came to nought, and City were able to take control of the game.
Tevez had the visitors’ first shot of the game from outside the box, but it was wide of Carson’s post, before he and Balotelli tried a neat one-two in the box, winning City their first corner of the game. That, though, was well cleared by the West Brom defence.
With 10 minutes on the clock, Zabaleta was close to doubling his all-time City total with a 25-yard drive after a Tevez shot was blocked, but it was slightly too high and slightly too wide of Carson’s goal.
Shortly after, though, City made their dominance pay. Silva was the architect with a delightful reverse-ball to Tevez and the Argentinean fired it low and hard across goal, leaving Balotelli with the simple job of knocking it into the net from close range.
Two minutes later and it should have been two for City. Yaya Toué found Silva free in the box and the Spaniard tried to open his body up and beat Carson with a curler to the back post, but it was well pushed away by the keeper. Tevez, though, was probably the better option, free in the centre.
But, minutes later, City had doubled their lead. Silva was involved again, with a delightful ball over the top for Balotelli. He brought it down and, with a little bit of luck to beat the defender, he turned and fired in a right-footed shot straight past Carson and into the net.
While the home side hadn’t really threatened Hart’s goal, City still needed to be alert, with Zabaleta putting in a brilliant block to deny Scharner a free shot on goal, before Tevez went close with a free kick at the other end.
Yaya Touré was his way to the Albion box soon after and, as two defenders came over to cover, he tried to clip the ball to the back post where Balotelli was in acres of space, but it was just cut out before he could have the chance for a first half hat-trick.
The second half began with some West Brom pressure, though there was little really to trouble Joe Hart. Then, with 52 minutes on the clock, Cox had an effort from range that beat Hart, but didn’t beat the frame of the goal, as it rebounded to safety from the post.
Balotelli was then flagged offside as he tried to break through for his and City’s third, before he received a yellow card for diving – something that Mancini will want to cut right out of his game.
And then, just before he was about to be replaced with Adam Johnson, Balotelli was sent off by the referee. It was a deserved red card for a kick on Mulumba, who was booked for his reaction to the challenge.
The red card got Albion going. Hart was called into action to tip a Nicky Shorey free kick over the bar expertly, before Silva was needed on the line to keep the ball from going into the net by flicking it up onto the bar and away.
City had the chance to end the game on 71 minutes after an excellent breakaway by Yaya Touré, relieving the pressure on their goal. But some desperate defending kept Tevez out, as Touré tried to find him at the back post.
Then that same man, Yaya Toué, picked the ball up in his own half and carried it to the corner of the West Brom box. He checked, crossed low looking for Tevez, but it flicked off a defender and needed Carson’s boot to keep it out. Barry picked up the rebound, but his shot was well blocked.
Albion began to press again, but City nicked the ball and began to kill the game with some excellent possession football. The home side’s frustration told when Mulumba scythed down Tevez to receive his second yellow card and end his side’s man advantage.
City saw out the game by keeping the ball in the Albion half. Tevez tried to get his name on the scoresheet with an ambitious lob from a free kick closer to the half-way line than the box, but Carson watched it over the bar and City ended their losing streak.