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January 18, 2014
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 47213
E. Džeko 14'
Jesús Navas 33'
Y. Touré 77'
S. Agüero 79'
C. Noone 29'
F. Campbell 90'+
I've been Tim Poole and that's all for our coverage, thanks for reading!
So it's another big win for Manchester City - their 12th home victory in a row in all competitions. Edin Dzeko, Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero all struck for the home side. But Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell also scored for Cardiff, who deserved some credit for keeping City at bay for most of the game.
FULL-TIME: Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
GOAL! Cardiff grab a consolation after a corner comes in. Once again, it isn't the sharpest defending from City as Toure and Demichelis misread the set-piece. In it comes and Campbell it is who gets the last touch to divert it into the back of the net.
These closing stages have been an attacking masterclass from Manchester City - not for the first time this season. Aguero has made a visible difference. Perhaps either Dzeko or Negredo must be sacrificed for him then.
More great play from Milner! The England midfielder looks to find Dzeko with a dangerous cross now, although his delivery is blocked for a corner.
SAVE! Kolarov does superbly to play Dzeko in and the Bosnian almost beats Marshall for a second time! However, the Cardiff goalkeeper does well to keep his side only three goals behind.
Milner now works well to set up Aguero, who wants to get his second - despite only being on the field of play for less than half an hour.
Cardiff have put up an admirable fight for as long as they could - but it looks like they will be heading for an unfortunate fate by the end of today: this result will take them to the bottom of the Premier League.
Jesús Navas González
So that looks to be that, as the usual suspects strike for Manchester City. David Silva, meanwhile, receives a standing ovation after making way for James Milner.
GOAL! Quick-fire double from the hosts as Aguero makes his presence felt. A brilliant finish from the Argentine has made absolutely sure of the result, only moments after he provided the assist for Toure's goal. The Ivorian, for his part, returned the favour.
Aron Einar Gunnarsson
GOAL! Toure makes it three! That should be the result wrapped up as the Ivorian links up superbly with his team-mates, before slotting the ball home to make it 3-1. Initially, he gave the ball away but then chased it down - and the rest was history!
Yellow CardAleksandar Kolarov
Magnus Eikrem is about to come on for the away side! One of Solskjaer's two new signings so far - and a former Manchester United academy graduate. Could this be fate?
OVER! Dzeko plays a superb ball forward to Aguero, who is persistent, if anything, as he surges past a series of challenges - notably from Turner. However, when he does unleash his shot, he is under pressure, sending the ball just over the bar.
The home crowd, in fact, are starting to voice a little bit of frustration. Gunnarsson is there to frustrate them even more as he produces a superb tackle to dispossess Silva.
So the hosts are still just one goal ahead going into the final stages of this afternoon's clash. Do Cardiff have another late comeback in them? Silva, Kolarov and Dzeko are looking to ensure that they don't as the thread the ball neatly between one another.
Craig Bellamy is coming on for Cardiff now, to great applause from the home crowd. The Welshman played for City, of course, and was actually signed by them five years ago today.
SAVE! The home side have been keeping possession very easily here, stringing simple passes together within Cardiff's half. However, on this occasion, Demichelis was too casual and Noone took the ball past him, driving towards goal. He then forced a save from Hart, as City are reminded that this isn't over just yet.
City are still the superior side in this second half, continuing in much the same fashion as the first. Cardiff have looked livelier after the break, though, and City's inability to extend their lead could make things interesting going into the closing stages.
Aguero duly comes on, as Negredo makes way. The Spaniard didn't manage to score today but was dangerous, nevertheless, especially during City's build-up play.
CHANGE! Aguero is warming up on the touchline as Pellegrini looks to bring him on. Can he finish this Cardiff side off?
Arsenal have just taken the lead against Fulham, which means that Manchester City will no longer be returning to the top of the Premier League as things stand.
The ball is played to the far post, where Campbell is free. Dzeko, of all people, heads it behind for a corner, however. The delivery comes in and bobbles in the penalty area - but Hart is just about able to collect.
Silva and Negredo threaten now, with the Cardiff defenders just about managing to clear the danger. They break, too, looking very lively on the counter themselves. They eventually win a free kick - Zabaleta with the foul.
GREAT DEFENDING! Zabaleta makes a superb intervention as Noone pushes forward for the visitors once again and the Argentine gets to the ball ahead of Campbell. Cardiff are certainly giving all they've got here, although Zabaleta's involvement almost forces a goal on the counter. After advancing upfield, Dzeko fires just wide.
SAVE! Hart makes an important save from a great strike from Mutch! The Cardiff man's shot swerved in the air and left the England goalkeeper confused for a moment. But he reacted well to deny the visitors.
Cardiff have no less than NINE red shirts behind the ball as Toure pushes forward with his City team-mates. The Ivorian decides to go for a shot and inadvertently sends the ball over the bar. Still, this looks to be unfolding just as the first half did...
The second half is underway!
We'll have all the action for you after half-time, so stay with us to see where things head in this one: will City run away with it? Or will Solskjaer inspire another dramatic result?
Normal service resumed four minutes later, however, as Jesus Navas - assisted by Dzeko - restored City's advantage. Manuel Pellegrini's side lead 2-1 at the break. What will they have in store for us in the second half?
Another impressive half for Manchester City comes to an end, although credit must go to Cardiff for still being in this tie. Edin Dzeko put the hosts ahead with a messy finish that needed Goal-Line Technology to confirm it had crossed the line, before Craig Noone netted a surprise equaliser for the away side.
HALF-TIME: Manchester City 2-1 Cardiff City
Inury time now as Zabaleta and David Silva maintain possession in midfield.
Play seems to have slowed down somewhat going into half-time. Cardiff could do with things staying as they are before the break. Can City add another to kill the visitors off, though?
More pressure from City! Steven Caulker barks orders at his Cardiff defenders as the visitors try to cope with attack after attack. On this occasion, the Bluebirds back line are left to survive, as Kolarov shoots from 25 yards out - off target.
Garcia and Kolarov are involved from the ensuing set-piece as they try and send the ball goalward, although the Cardiff defence manage to get blocks in during both attempts. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are only a goal behind, remember. But you have to wonder how much longer they can stay within touching distance of this City team.
Yet more pressure from the hosts now! Navas slides in near the byline but McNaughton gets the last touch as the ball goes off for a corner.
In typical Manchester City fashion, the home side have been caught out momentarily at the back yet have offered nothing but the utmost quality going forward. As such, they now lead once again - and Cardiff will be feeling rather blue, considering.
GoalJesús Navas González
GOAL! Navas restores the advantage for the hosts as parity lasts just four minutes for Cardiff! Dzeko, who scored the first goal, provided the assist, doing brilliantly to find the Spaniard in the box. Navas used his lightning speed from thereon in, getting to the ball and sending it home to put City 2-1 up.
Mutch and Noone have been instrumental for the Bluebirds so far this season - and they look to be on top of their game once again today. Considering the possession statistics, this scoreline is unthinkable!
AssistAron Einar Gunnarsson
GOAL! Noone scores for Cardiff! Unbelievable scenes as the visitors pull a goal back out of nowhere. Jordan Mutch and Aron Gunnarsson do well to play in Noone, who cuts inside from the right and finishes past Joe Hart at the near-post. What a surprising turn of events...
STAT ATTACK: Manchester City have scored in 61 consecutive home games.
Aleksandar Kolarov has been fantastic again so far today, advancing down the left wing as often as he can and attempting dangerous deliveries into the box on a regular basis. He seems to work rather well with Negredo...
Noone and Fraizer Campbell now make a rare venture into the City half, although Martin Demichelis is able to intervene calmly. Once the danger is dealt with, the hosts counterattack, until Toure is brought down. Play is waved on but the Ivorian remains on the floor for a few moments.
WIDE AGAIN! Right on cue, Negredo takes another exquisite touch and flashes the ball just wide - once again after a shot with the outside of his foot!
Are Dzeko and Negredo giving Pellegrini food for thought as far as picking his strikers is concerned? Aguero is easily one of the best strikers in the world - but why change a winning line-up?
The corner is cleared comfortably, although there appears to be no sign of Manchester City stepping off the gas. Trouble remains in the bottom tier of one of the stands, however. That's despite police presence.
JUST WIDE! Negredo almost makes amends straight away with a great touch to control the ball, before a clipped shot just wide with the outside of his foot. It took a deflection and so went out for a corner.
Negredo makes a poor challenge to get himself booked, although there looks to be more trouble in the stands, where some Cardiff fans are involved in physical confrontation with other members of the crowd.
It should be a long afternoon for Cardiff...
That was Manchester City's 100th goal this season!
GOAL! Dzeko! Fantastic build-up from City yet again, this time as the ball is worked inwards from a throw-in. Dzeko was at the ready once again as several shirts looked to fight for possession in the box, with the Bosnian striker bundling the ball home. Kevin McNaughton tried to clear the shot - but Goal-Line Technology proved that it had crossed the line!
Relentless pressure from City! The crosses keep coming in - and so too the shots. How long can Cardiff hold on to the clean sheet here?
ALMOST AN OWN GOAL! Navas threatens yet again, with a fantastic run down the flank and a trademark cross into the box. Michael Turner slid in to clear the ball and almost diverted it into his own net!
SAVE! Fantastic build-up play from Manchester City sees Dzeko receive the ball in the air, with the Bosnian striker duly sending a dangerous header goalward. David Marshall was there to stop him - but not City, as the home side pressed and pressed, until, finally, the ball rolled out for a goal kick.
Cardiff have withstood any early bombardment admirably thus far - but they are being completely outplayed in terms of possession. That can't bode well for the away side with so long left to play.
Quick, end-to-end football already. Always the case with Manchester City...
Corner to Cardiff! The visitors win the ball back and play it upfield, with a City clearance sending the ball behind. Toure heads the set-piece away, however, and the counterattack is on! Jesus Navas struggles against Kevin Theophile-Catherine, though, conceding a foul.
Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta now exchange passes in midfield, with City dominating possession already! Craig Noone has just committed a foul, however, with a poor challenge in the middle of the park.
The Manchester City fans are in full voice as the hosts attempt to dictate play early on. Whenever Cardiff advance forward, it seems Javi Garcia will be there to try and stop them, shielding the back four.
And we're off!
Kick-off is just a few minutes away, so stay with us for all the action!
Star Manchester City man Sergio Aguero has only been deemed fit enough for the bench this afternoon - but Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko should be able to provide the goals for the hosts today. Unless the away side have anything to say about it...
The last time these two sides met, of course, the Bluebirds pulled off a shock 3-2 win against Pellegrini's men. At the Etihad, however, City are a completely different prospect (while their away form has also improved drastically since then).
Subs: Lewis; Hudson, Odemwingie, Kim, Eikrem, Bellamy, John.
Cardiff: Marshall; McNaughton, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Medel, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Noone; Campbell.
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy, Fernandinho, Milner, Aguero.
TEAM NEWS - Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Navas, Toure, Garcia, Silva; Negredo, Dzeko.
Cardiff, meanwhile, can lift themselves out of the relegation zone with an unlikely win, as they currently reside in 18th place - but are just four points off 12th.
City are currently a point off top of the Premier League table, while a win today could take them back to the summit if Arsenal fail to secure a victory against Fulham.
Good afternoon and welcome to live-text commentary of Manchester City against Cardiff City. I'm your host Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through all the action at the Etihad Stadium, where Manuel Pellegrini's side are in sensational form, having won 11 of their last 11 games there in all competitions!
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