Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 4 December 2010, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, K Touré (Lescott 32), Kompany, Kolarov, de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, Silva (Richards 85), Balotelli, Tevez (c) (Milner 90)
Unused: Given, Vieira, Jo, A Johnson
Goals: Tevez (4)
Booked: Y Touré, Tevez, Kolarov
Sent Off: Kolarov
Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany
City started the game quickly, pressing Bolton and looking for the early goal. And that’s just exactly what they got – Tevez, fresh from having gotten his eye in with an effort straight at Jääskeläinen, was sent through by Yaya Touré and he made no mistake, slipping it past the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.
Yaya Touré could have then doubled City’s lead just two minutes later, but his effort from inside the box was blocked, before he later crossed for Tevez and Balotelli, but the low ball was just behind the two forward men.
Both the City players and the City fans wanted a penalty on 15 minutes, as Silva weaved his way into the box and fired in a shot. It was blocked en route to the goal, but it looked to have been by the arm of the defender. The referee, though, gave a corner and not a spot kick.
Bolton had their first real chance of the game a minute later, as ex-City winger Petrov’s free-kick deflected off the City wall and curled just wide of Hart’s post.
With half an hour gone, Yaya Touré misplaced a defensive header and it needed Kolarov to get the ball away, before City had a goal ruled out for offside – Barry was clearly ahead of play, but there were questions as to how active he was, as he let the ball run for Silva, who found Tevez to slot it home.
Silva then cut inside from the right and left the defence in a spin, before finding Tevez on the edge of the box. The Argentinian, though, could only find the gloves of Jääskeläinen, as City looked for that second goal.
Zabaleta then had a golden chance to find it, but his one-on-one was blocked, after he ran on to a delightful chipped pass from his fellow countryman, Tevez. Tevez then shot over, as Zabaleta returned the favour a minute later.
After the break, Bolton should have pulled level with their best chance of the game. City were caught short at the back and Kevin Davies had the chance to volley from the edge of the box, but it was just over the bar.
Zabaleta then should have added to City’s lead as he was sent clear in the box, but the full back’s shot was well blocked by Jääskeläinen. Balotelli then hit the post, after Tevez and Silva caused confusion in the visitors’ box.
City were soon peppering the Bolton goal with shots, as Balotelli had a shot saved when Barry was square, Tevez shot high and wide and Silva hit the bar, as the home side pressed for that second goal.
After the bout of pressure, though, it took Zabaleta to put in a fantastic defensive header to deny a certain equaliser, as the ball was swung to the back post. Hart was then able to collect the ball in the box, as a corner caused a moment of confusion.
Jääskeläinen got down well to save a Kolarov free kick on 65 minutes, before a run and shot from Yaya Touré was blocked for a corner by Gary Cahill.
With 20 minutes to play, it was almost 1-1, but for Vincent Kompany. The big Belgian saved Hart’s blushes, after the young keeper came off his line to collect a free kick and, unchallenged, let the ball slip through his hands. It carried on through towards the net, but the centre-back was there first to clear.
Two minutes later, Kolarov picked up a yellow card for a late challenge in the City half, before a delightful run by Kompany opened the Bolton defence up. He carried the ball to the edge of the box and produced a wonderful flick to Kolarov, but his shot was driven wide.
But then, as it looked like City would be comfortable going into the final minutes, Kolarov slid in on Ricketts and looked to have touched the ball. But the linesman flagged for a foul and the referee concurred, giving the left back his second yellow card and sending him for an early shower.
With minutes to go, it was backs to the wall for City, needing Lescott and Kompany to clear the danger from Kevin Davies, before Richards produced a fine header to thwart another Bolton attack.
Balotelli had the chance to shoot at goal from a free kick, but it was well over the bar, before Bolton launched it towards the City box again. But, again and again, there was Kompany to head clear and help the ten men see out the game.