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Premier League

  • 25 February 2012
  • • 17:30
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 46782
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Manchester City 3-0 Blackburn: Balotelli, Aguero & Dzeko fire hosts five points clear at top of Premier League

Manchester City 3-0 Blackburn: Balotelli, Aguero & Dzeko fire hosts five points clear at top of Premier League

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The hosts strolled to victory against a Rovers side lacking creativity, allowing Mancini's men to completely dominate proceedings and extend their lead at the table's summit

Goals from Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko secured a 3-0 win for Manchester City over Blackburn to help extend their advantage at the top of the Premier League table to five points

Gareth Barry missed out for City with a slight hamstring injury, whilst Yaya Toure made his first Premier League start since returning from the African Nations Cup.

Mancini named Balotelli in the City team after the Italian was an unused substitute in Wednesday's 4-0 thumping over Porto. Yakubu was the lone striker for Blackburn who were without Chris Samba after he left the club to join Anzhi Makhachkala on Friday.

City started really brightly and nearly took the lead after a fine move down the right hand side lead to Pablo Zabaleta crossing for Balotelli, who was denied by a fantastic save down low by Paul Robinson in the opening minute.

The visitors struggled to gain any period of sustained possession in the first 20 minutes as the home side dominated the ball but struggled to create any clear cut chances.

However City’s dominance eventually brought about another effort on goal as Adam Johnson cut in from the right and saw a shot palmed out by Robinson.

The hosts were beginning to turn the screw and a Balotelli free kick again forced Robinson into making a save.

Eventually the Blackburn rearguard could not hold out any longer. After Junior Hoilett was dispossessed, David Silva launched a counter attack and fed Aleksander Kolarov down the left who fired across a ball to the front post for Balotelli to sweep home in the 30th minute.

Blackburn responded encouragingly and wanted a penalty after Morten Gamst Pedersen went down after a challenge from Nigel De Jong but the Dutchman clearly got a toe to the ball.

The visitors didn’t have the upper hand for long as a move down the left from the home side lead to Kolarov sliding the ball across firmly to Silva, he controlled expertly but saw his shot across the goal denied by Robinson.

With Blackburn failing to keep control of the ball chances continued to come for the home side with Zabaleta and Kolarov providing great outlets in wide positions.

Vincent Kompany’s exquisite flick on from a corner nearly brought a second for City but Robinson again came to his side’s rescue before Yaya Toure then diverted the rebound wide on the volley.

Moments later a long ball from Balotelli was set upon by Aguero who outmuscled Scott Dann but his left foot shot from a tight angle went just past the post.

City began the second half on the front foot much like they did the first and they quickly doubled their lead. A corner whipped in was flapped at by Robinson leaving Aguero to smash the ball into the back of the net on the half volley.

The second goal appeared to kill the game as a contest as Rovers looked short of creativity in attack. City appeared very content with the two goal cushion and as the closing stages approached, the end result looked inevitable.

With the home side comfortably cruising to another home victory the only concern for the home fans was seeing Toure seemingly struggling from an injury.

That worry was soon forgotten as a stunning cross from Kolarov was met supremely by substitute Dzeko who headed the ball down low past Robinson.

As the game drew to a close Kolarov and Silva spurred late chances whilst Yakubu finally forced Joe Hart into making a save. However it was City who eased to victory, leaving their fans to rejoice knowing their team had a five point lead at the top of the Premier League.

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