A fantastic Leon Osman strike and a late Nikica Jelavic goal condemned Roberto Mancini's men to their fourth straight defeat at Goodison Park, despite Steven Pienaar's sending-off
Mancini's men - who have now lost their last four games in the Toffees' backyard - were thoroughly outplayed in the first half, and a stunning strike from stand-in captain Leon Osman ensured they headed into the break 1-0 behind.
Steven Pienaar was sent off on the hour mark, but the hosts held on and doubled their advantage late on through Nikica Jelavic as David Moyes' side produced the perfect reaction to their FA Cup exit against Wigan last Saturday.
The home side headed into proceedings having made two changes from the 3-0 drubbing by the Latics, with skipper Phil Neville being replaced by Darron Gibson and forward Victor Anichebe coming in for Nikica Jelavic.
|EVERTON 2-0 MANCHESTER CITY
Key match action
Before the game, the City boss joked that he could not remember any of his previous defeats at Goodison Park, but Everton were about to offer up a painful reminder.
The opening 10 minutes yielded 65% possession for the Toffees as key men Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini – whose evident enthusiasm saw him booked after just six minutes – imposed themselves on the action from the off.
And on 12 minutes, the hosts looked to have earned just reward for their early dominance as Kevin Mirallas hit the back of the net with a finely-struck volley. Controversially, though, the linesman raised the offside flag, despite replays definitively showing he was onside.
But on the half-hour mark, Osman gave Everton the lead in spectacular fashion – and there was nothing the linesman could do to stop this one. Receiving the ball 30 yards from goal, the stand-in skipper sent a stunning strike straight into the top-left corner with his first touch with Hart rooted to the spot.
The visitors needed a response and Tevez and Dzeko – their biggest threats so far – fired just off target minutes later, but the hosts were firmly in control going into the break.
And it was more of the same after half-time. That was until the hour mark, however, when Pienaar – who was booked in the first half – dived in and caught Javi Garcia high on the shin, and referee Lee Probert showed no hesitation in sending the South African off.
The man advantage gave City all the space they needed, and they duly threatened on 66 minutes as Tevez and Milner fired in a shot each, with Toffees goalkeeper Jan Mucha producing two top-quality saves in response.
The visitors were given cause to feel aggrieved late on as Fellaini handled inside the penalty area but Probert gave a free kick just outside the box, much to Tevez's disgust.
Kolarov could not convert the set-piece and Jelavic compounded their misery by adding a second in injury time with a deflected shot looping over Hart after a breakaway from Fellaini. If the title race was already tilted heavily in Manchester United's favour, it has now surely become a foregone conclusion.