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Played
March 4, 2013 3:00 PM EST
Villa Park — Birmingham
Referee:‬ M. Dean‎
Attendance:‬ 33217‎
 
 
Carlos Tévez 45+1′
Top of the Match
Carlos Tévez
Carlos Tévez
Manchester City
Edin Dzeko
Edin Dzeko
Manchester City
Flop of the Match
Ciaran Clark
Ciaran Clark
Aston Villa
Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini

Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City: Tevez punishes Clark error to keep visitors' slim title hopes alive

The defender's slip proved costly as Roberto Mancini's side managed to grind out the win to close the gap to 12 points at the top of the Premier League table

By Tom McKeown

Manchester City reduced the gap to leader Manchester United back down to 12 points after grinding out a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Monday night.

A badly timed slip in the midfield from Ciaran Clark led to Carlos Tevez’s opener in first-half stoppage time, before Edin Dzeko saw his rebound from Yaya Toure’s strike ruled out for offside.

The result also means Paul Lambert’s side remains in the bottom three, having only picked up one victory in their last 11 league matches.

The home side was unchanged from its defeat at Arsenal, with Ron Vlaar still sidelined due to a calf problem, while Darren Bent was also out with a foot injury.

Roberto Mancini made one change from his side’s 2-0 win over Chelsea, replacing Sergio Aguero with compatriot Tevez up front after the former picked up a knee injury in training. Jack Rodwell kept his place in midfield, but Gareth Barry returned to the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.

Villa started brightly, causing panic inside the City area when Javi Garcia sliced a clearance from Joe Bennett’s cross, and a Joe Hart punch went straight up into the air, but Kolo Toure eventually cleared the danger.

Villa’s early superiority nearly paid off on 20 minutes when Benteke met Charles N’Zogbia’s corner with a powerful header which looked destined for the bottom corner but for Tevez’s clearance off the line.

After Edin Dzeko replaced the injured Rodwell, however, Mancini’s men started to enjoy more possession, and Pablo Zabaleta nearly put the visitors in front, latching on to Tevez’s through pass and hammering a superb shot across goal which Guzan managed to flick on to the post.

Guzan was called into action again shortly after, parrying away a 20-yard curling effort from Tevez before diverting away Dzeko’s low effort from the right-hand side of the area.

City’s late first-half dominance finally paid off in stoppage time when Ciaran Clark slipped in midfield and Dzeko stole the ball and squared it to Tevez, who skipped past Brad Guzan before slotting it past Clark, who had recovered to get back to the line.

Both sides came out quickly after the break, but it was City that nearly doubled its lead as Dzeko fired a volleyed effort from the edge of the box which deflected off Nathan Baker and wide of Guzan’s post.

Tevez then spurned a fine opportunity, electing to shoot with Silva free in the area, seeing his shot cleared away by Clark with Guzan beaten.

With City pressing for more, Villa was able to occasionally find space in behind, and on the hour mark Andreas Weimann was able to fire in a cross from the right for Gabriel Agbonlahor but Kolo Toure managed to scramble it behind.

After Matthew Lowton drilled a 35-yard effort wide, City was denied a second when Yaya Toure’s low left-footed effort from 20 yards was tipped on to the post by Guzan with another stunning fingertip save, but it came to Dzeko who fired the ball into an empty net only for the flag to go up for offside.

City then forced a corner and Garcia side-footed a volley just wide of the post before Benteke was denied a penalty late on, when it looked like Nastasic brought down the defender with a clumsy challenge.

Villa pressed for an equaliser late on but City held on for the win with what was - for the majority of the match - an understated performance.

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Aston Villa

1
Bradley Guzan
Goalkeeper
4.00
6
Ciaran Clark
Defender
1.50
3
Joseph Bennett
Defender
2.50
2
Nathan Baker
Defender
2.50
34
Matthew Lowton
Defender
3.00
-
Charles N'Zogbia
Midfielder
65′
1.50
15
Ashley Westwood
Midfielder
86′
2.00
16
Fabian Delph
Midfielder
94′
2.00
11
3.00
20
C. Benteke
Striker
75′
3.00
10
3.00

Manchester City

2.50
1
Joe Hart
Goalkeeper
3.50
5
2.50
22
Gael Clichy
Defender
3.50
4
Kolo Toure
Defender
3.50
33
3.00
7
James Milner
Midfielder
2.50
14
Javi García
Midfielder
1.50
17
Jack Rodwell
Midfielder
25′
2.50
21
David Silva
Midfielder
90′
2.50
42
Yaya Touré
Midfielder
4.00
10

Substitutes

31
Shay Given
Goalkeeper
 - 
43
Eric Lichaj
Defender
 - 
8
2.00
14
Brett Holman
Midfielder
65′
2.00
18
 - 
21
 - 
-
2.00

Substitutes

 - 
30
 - 
6
 - 
13
2.50
8
Samir Nasri
Midfielder
75′
1.00
18
Gareth Barry
Midfielder
90′
3.00
10
Edin Dzeko
Striker
25′ 46′
 - 
21
Scott Sinclair
Midfielder

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Man City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Man City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man United
15 2