Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 7 May 2011, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta (Balotelli 80), Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Vieira (A Johnson 78), de Jong (Jo 90), Y Touré, Silva, Milner, Dzeko
Unused: Given, Boyata, McGivern, Wright-Phillips
Goals: Y Touré (28)
Booked: Kompany, Kolarov
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
The first action of the game saw a free kick to Everton on the left wing after Zabaleta was deemed to have fouled Arteta, but the neat idea to roll it back to Osman didn’t come off, when the Everton man skied his shot into the stand behind Hart’s goal.
City, though, responded on 8 minutes as Silva produced a wonderful piece of control inside the area after Kompany had played a high diagonal ball. He turned Hibbert inside out and flashed a shot across the goalmouth, but it was a yard wide of the post.
Three minutes later and City should have been in front. A delightful ball to the back post by Milner found Silva and he cushioned the ball down for the late arriving Vieira, but he put his side-footed volley over the bar from inside the six yard box, when he should have done a lot better.
Everton began to put the pressure on the visitors with a series of corners, but City were able to win the ball in the air and get it clear. Vieira tried to play Silva through, but his pass was just too heavy, before he then gave the ball away on the edge of the box, but de Jong was on hand to help out. An Everton free kick then deflected off the City wall for a corner.
City began to steady the ship and get their foot on the ball and they carved another golden chance as Silva broke into the box. He tried to square it past Howard, but was only able to pick out Everton shirts. A minute later, though, he found Touré on the right and he smashed it past Howard and into the top corner, giving the visitors the lead.
The visitors quickly had the chance to double the lead, as Dzeko tried a curler from the edge of the box, but his miss-hit it and Howard could catch. Silva then found him on the edge of the box and the Bosnian’s volley cannoned off Distin’s bottom and to safety, before Kolarov couldn’t squeeze a low cross past the front post.
Baines tried a low shot that was blocked by Kompany, before Silva almost found Touré in the box again, this time with a low cross, but the Ivorian couldn’t stretch enough to find the finish. Lescott was then unlucky to concede a free kick on Everton’s right flank, but Everton couldn’t find the ball into the box with a move off the training ground. Rodwell then headed wide from a Neville cross.
A brilliant piece of defending from Jagielka denied Kolarov a certain goal in the area, after some neat interplay between Silva and Touré left him through on goal, but the Everton centre-back got a foot on the ball before the Serbian could pull the trigger.
The first action of the second half saw Kompany pull out the best tackle he’s made all season. A Baines shot from a free kick deflected to the edge of the six yard box and seemed a simple tap in past Joe Hart, until the Belgian centre-back got his toe in first to force the ball behind for a corner. That led to a series of corners for the home side, but they couldn’t force the equaliser.
A defensive header by Dzeko from the final corner allowed City the chance to break away and Touré found himself through on goal, but he couldn’t force the ball past Howard on his one-on-one. Dzeko then headed inches wide, with Howard stranded, and Dzeko couldn’t find a shot in the box from a corner.
The Everton fans wanted a penalty on 54 minutes as Baines hit the deck in the area, but there was no appeal from the Everton full back and the referee turned the appeals down. Silva then put the ball into a dangerous area in the Everton box from a free kick, but Howard was out quickly to punch it clear.
Rodwell then tried a square pass in the City area, but all of the Everton attack had driven towards goal and the ball was behind everyone, allowing Milner to clear. Kolarov tried one of his long range efforts, but it was well wide of Howard’s goal. Rodwell then clattered through de Jong and picked up a yellow card and Kompany saw yellow for his reaction, too.
As the game ticked over the hour mark, Silva and Touré broke into the Everton half and released Dzeko onto the edge of the box. He ran at Distin and fired off a left foot shot that was inches wide of Howard left hand post.
And then, with 65 minutes played, Everton punished City for their slack finishing. Kompany lost Distin in the box from a set piece and he nodded past Hart to equalise for the home side against his former club. City should have been more than one goal in front and they paid the price for being wasteful.
Everton pushed for the second goal immediately and City were on the back foot. A free kick was just about cleared by Kompany and Zabaleta, before de Jong pulled off a great tackle on Cahill to deny him a shooting opportunity. Beckford was then flagged offside as he ran through to shoot, but his shot flashed wide anyway.
And City couldn’t hang on in there. Leon Osman rose higher than Kompany in the area and headed towards the back post, giving Hart no chance and pulling the home side in front from a losing position. It had been coming since the equaliser, but still harsh on City.
Balotelli then challenged Howard for the ball as it deflected towards the Everton keeper and he just got enough on it to get it clear. Milner picked up the loose ball and shot at goal. It was deflected and looped just over the bar for a corner. Johnson was causing problems and fired in a low cross, but it couldn’t find a City foot.
Hart launched a late free kick into the Everton box, but there wasn’t a City head to meet it and it transpired to be another defeat on Merseyside, again underserved against the Blue half, and City handed the chance for Tottenham to close the gap.