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Premier League

  • November 5, 2011
  • • 17:30
  • • Loftus Road Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 18076

QPR 2-3 Manchester City: Yaya Toure heads winner as battling visitors edge thriller to maintain five-point lead at the top

QPR 2-3 Manchester City: Yaya Toure heads winner as battling visitors edge thriller to maintain five-point lead at the top

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A pulsating fixture at Loftus Road saw both teams enjoy spells of dominance but, after a moment of magic from David Silva, the Ivorian midfielder secured victory with a header

Manchester City emerged triumphant in a fluctuating thriller at Loftus Road, as Yaya Toure's thumping headed goal secured a 3-2 victory against QPR that keeps Roberto Mancini's men five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The City boss brought young Stefan Savic into the centre of defence to replace suspended captain Vincent Kompany, while Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were partnered together in attack. For the home side, Shaun Wright-Phillips lined up on the right to face his former paymasters.

QPR started the better of the two sides, with Heidar Helguson flashing wide in the opening minutes, but as City attempted to quieten proceedings the first half slowed.

The home side returned to prominence around the midpoint of the opening period, building some sustained pressure. From a corner, Joey Barton swung the ball in and found Helguson, who headed back across goal. Joe Hart had been drawn out by the delivery and was unable to close Anton Ferdinand down, but the defender somehow failed to connect with the ball as he accelerated towards the net.

A deserved goal arrived just moments later, however. Barton again played a great cross with the dead ball, this time with a free-kick from the right, and Jay Bothroyd rose above Savic to bury the header from eight yards.

Neil Warnock’s men continued to exert pressure, with Wright-Phillips teeing up Jamie Mackie on the right. Hart blocked the shot and then reacted well to deny Helguson’s follow-up, although the Icelander was offside.

Bothroyd should then have doubled his tally after a lackadaisical backpass from Dzeko set Mackie loose on the right. The cross was perfect and the striker’s header beat Hart, but also the far post.

His profligacy was punished when the league leaders hit back. Dzeko was supplied through the left channel, and the Bosnian carried the ball into the centre, evading multiple defenders before coolly placing the ball into the bottom corner.

Suddenly with momentum, Gareth Barry’s run down the left saw him play in Aguero on the edge of the area, but the Argentine fired low and hard against the post.

Immediately after the restart, Barton stung the hands of Hart with a powerful left-footed effort that the City goalkeeper sprung up to deflect.

It was the visitors who got the quick breakthrough, though. Dzeko advanced on the left and passed to Silva, with his back to goal in the area. In a sublime piece of misdirection, the Spaniard feinted a pass before darting past two defenders and finishing magnificently.

Dzeko then burst through on the hour and hit a left-footed shot, but Paddy Kenny pulled off a smart save to keep it out.

City’s dominant spell was broken with just over 20 minutes left. Armand Traore was allowed to reach the byline on the left by Adam Johnson, and his cross was met by Bothroyd. The striker’s header came off Helguson as it went into the net, and though the visitors protested the Icelander was offside, Savic had been playing him on and the equaliser stood.

But Mancini’s side bounced straight back. Just past the halfway line, Aleksandar Kolarov whipped an exceptional cross into the box that swung precisely onto the head of Toure, who nodded home aplomb.

Helguson nearly registered another equaliser with 10 minutes remaining when he met another Barton free-kick in the box and thumped a towering header against the top of the post, as the game continued to fluctuate.

QPR pushed for another chance but City shut the game down effectively enough to see it out and retain their five-point cushion at the top of the table.

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