English Premier League
Sunday 18 September 2011, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Silva (Zabaleta 69), Nasri (A Johnson 81), Dzeko, Aguero (Tevez 83)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Balotelli, Kolarov
Goals: Aguero (18, 46)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: David Silva
City started the game the brighter with the lion’s share of possession. Dzeko was well offside after some brilliant build-up between Nasri and Silva, before the same two combined again to give Aguero a shooting chance, but he could only find the side netting from a very tight angle. Some good work by Aguero chasing down Kelly then earned the visitors a free kick on the left flank, but Schwarzer punched away Nasri’s cross with ease.
City then gave away the ball on the edge of their own box from a free kick, but Dempsey wasn’t able to beat Hart with a long range effort. Nasri then couldn’t turn in the box and Schwarzer was able to pick up the loose ball.
Richards then played a neat ball out to Dzeko on the right wing. He fired a cross in that was half-cleared, but Silva picked up the pieces and slid it into Aguero in the box. With the Fulham players appealing for an offside, he turned and placed the ball into the corner, giving the visitors the lead.
A nicely worked free kick from the home side then gave Dembele a shot on the edge of the box and it was deflected behind. Silva tried to keep it in, but he sliced his clearance. Schwarzer then produced a great save from Clichy’s effort on the edge of the box as a City corner was worked to him. Another piece of brilliant play almost saw Nasri in, but an unlucky ricochet left the home side with a goal kick.
It was all City mid-way into the first half, as Silva was onside in the box. He clipped it back for Dzeko, who slammed a left footed shot at goal, but another fine save from Schwarzer kept it at 1-0. Another great cross from Clichy somehow missed Aguero and Dzeko, but needed Riise to nod it behind away from Silva.
Fulham then had an isolated chance on the half hour as Zamora had an effort from range, but Hart was able to watch it over comfortably. Duff then wasted a crossing opportunity, curling a deep ball behind with nobody in the box. Dempsey then had an effort, but Hart was able to hold on to it. After that spell of pressure, though, the game slowed down and City were comfortable to half time.
Then, from the second half kick off, City doubled their lead. Clichy played a high ball to Dzeko, who nodded the ball down for Aguero to shoot and he found the bottom corner. The goal came 12 seconds into the second half and the first Fulham touch after the break was Schwarzer as he picked the ball out of the net.
Aguero then found the net again two minutes later, but he was flagged offside when he thought he’d grabbed his second hat trick in two games. Richards was then very harshly penalised for handball – Murphy rolled the free kick to the edge of the box and Sidwell smashed his shot, but it bent more towards the corner flag than the goal.
On 55 minutes, largely against the run of play, Zamora pulled a goal back for the home side. His first touch took the ball away from Richards and he smashed the ball past Joe Hart into the top corner. A brilliant tackle from Richards in the box then stole the ball away from Dempsey as Fulham looked immediately for an equaliser.
Joe Hart then had to be alert to push away an effort from Dembele, as he shot through the bodies in the box. It was arrowing into the bottom corner until the England keeper got down and pushed it around the post brilliantly.
City needed to get their foot back on the ball and regain control of the game. Silva chested a neat ball back to Nasri on the edge of the box and he laid the ball off the Barry. He had a shot, but it was deflected behind. Hart then pulled off another great save from Dempsey, pushing a header over the bar from a Fulham corner. Back at the other end, Richards nodded wide from a City set piece.
With 15 minutes to play, Fulham pulled it level. The ball was cleared to Dzeko who went down too easily for the referee, who waved play on. Zamora controlled the ball in the box and laid it back to Murphy. His shot deflected off Kompany and left Joe Hart helpless.
Tevez almost snatched the lead for City with five minutes to play as he received the ball from Johnson on the edge of the box. He stepped around one challenge and shot at goal, but Haangeland got the block in. Clichy then volleyed over from 25 yards.
Yaya Toure tried the spectacular shot from 25 yards, looking for the winner with 90 seconds of the game remaining, but his drive curled away as it neared Schwarzer’s goal. From a leading position, City dropped two points and should have done better from being two goals in front.