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March 15, 2014
• Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 24895
David Silva 14'
E. Džeko 90'
FULL-TIME: Hull City 0-2 Manchester City. A massive, win for Manuel Pellegrini and his men, who recovered from the early dismissal of skipper Vincent Kompany to pass a major test and keep their noses in the title race by closing in on Chelsea and cranking up the pressure on Liverpool and Arsenal ahead of their crunch clashes tomorrow. David Silva was the orchestrator, bending home a superb first-half opener before teeing up Edin Dzeko in injury time to give City all three points.
90' + 2'
Jelavic escapes Clichy far too easily but, like the rest of the Hull attacks today, his final ball is poor and City can break on the far side.
90' + 1'
GOAL! Dzeko does seal the points this time, cashing in on some exquisite play by Silva, who spins his marker and slides a perfect pass for the Bosnian who clinically dispatches the ball into the back of the stranded McGregor's net with the minimum of fuss.
Hull just cannot seem to find the right decision in the final third, with Hart easily catching their latest cross into the area, with Elmohamady once again the supplier.
Dzeko wastes a glorious opportunity to put the match out of sight for the visitors and it's the second time that has happened after Fernandinho's earlier gaffe in front of goal. Clichy feeds him first time with a stunning pass but his finish is far too close to McGregor and Hull clear away. Could City's profligacy come back to haunt them?
CLOSE: Jelavic stoops to try and steer home Elmohamady's fizzing cross with his head but it just evades him after he had shown tremendous movement to escape the attentions of Garcia and Demichelis.
City defending resolutely in the face of renewed pressure from Hull but the Tigers are unable to convert their possession into anything to really test Hart, who has dealt well with the succession of high balls into his area this afternoon.
Jesús Navas González
A couple of substitutions, one apiece, to report as Hull haul on Matty Fryatt to bolster their forward ranks on the field while City introduce the speed merchant that is Jesus Navas for Nasri, who has worked tirelessly for his side.
Pellegrini's side are containing their hosts well here and, with just 10 minutes to go, stand on the cusp of what would be an extremely important win for their title aspirations.
The free-kick is cleared easily enough by City, who subsequently earn a free-kick when Long clips Nasri. The ball is punted upfield to Silva, who buys his side some time by winning a corner.
Hull break again and Jelavic meets a left-wing centre, but Hart is up quick to thwart the Croat, who had directed his header impressively on target despite the ball being slightly behind him.
WHAT A CHANCE: Fernandinho misses an absolute sitter to make the game safe for City and could it come back to haunt the title chasers here? The Brazilian takes Silva's deflected pass in his stride with a delightful first touch but his second is woeful, scuffing wide with the goal more or less at his mercy.
Hull are denied a penalty again moments later as Jelavic hits the floor on the edge of the City area before the visitors break and Rosenior is cautioned for dragging down Zabaleta as City looked to break away. Pellegrini looks like he is going to settle with the one-goal advantage; introducing Joleon Lescott for Toure.
Yellow CardLiam Rosenior
Yellow CardJoe Hart
Hull are denied a penalty and it looks the right decision as Boyd goes down under pressure from Hart. The Manchester City goalkeeper takes his hands away as the duo come together and the Hull man hits the floor far too easily for referee Mason's liking.
Demichelis gets drawn to the ball as Hull launch a high cross into the area and Long almost profits but the move ultimately comes to nothing.
Hull win a corner after a positive surging run from substitute George Boyd but, after a cleverly-worked short corner, Huddlestone's curling ball into the area is claimed with ease by Hart.
Hull work an opening on the right and manage to hang a ball into the area courtesy of Elmohamady, but Jelavic - not for the first time - finds himself in an offside position.
It is City's turn to come forward this time, with Demichelis fashioning a shooting chance but cannot quite steer home. How the visitors crave a second goal to put the contest to bed and seal three much-needed points.
Hull are turning up the heat on Manchester City now and their belief is growing with every attack they launch. Chester goes close to heading home a Huddlestone corner, but Dzeko does just enough to nod it away from the onrushing defender.
The visitors do their best to quell a spell of pressure from the home side but almost inflict some more damage to their own defence after squandering possession in a dangerous area. Long, however, fails to slip in the unmarked Jelavic before Elmohamady shoots wastefully wide from range.
Yellow CardPablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta enters the referee's notebook after a rash challenge on Meyler, who had released the ball well before the City man came in with a desperate tackle. From the set piece, Huddlestone delivers a similar ball to that of Aluko's but Long cannot get enough power on his flick towards goal.
Aluko has had a tangible impact since his arrival and whips in a devilish free-kick towards the near post, which Jelavic connects with but fails to get sufficient purchase on the ball and Hart can pounce on the loose ball.
A half-chance again for Long as he benefits from some good work by Meyler to turn Garcia and unleash a snap-shot but it is straight at Hart, who saves easily. The hosts build a head of steam moments later but are frustrated by Aluko's run into the area, where he finds himself in an offside position.
Elmohamady sprints clear down the right flank and sends in a teasing cross to the far post to find Long, whose downward header goes just wide. The flag was raised on the near touchline, however, presumably for a foul on Zabaleta, with the Republic of Ireland international using the defender's shoulder to lean on.
A substitution for the hosts and it looks like there could be something of a reshuffle as Sone Aluko comes on for Maynor Figueroa.
SECOND HALF: City get us back underway for the second half as they look to preserve their lead, despite being a man down.
HALF-TIME: Hull City 0-1 Manchester City. One side has more players on the field but the dismissal of Vincent Kompany has merely served to inspire Pellegrini's side, who lead at the break thanks to Silva's stunning finish. After the City skipper had been sent off for hauling down Tigers striker Jelavic, Silva engineered some space before bending an exquisite strike beyond McGregor and Zabaleta could have added to the lead, but his powerful long-range effort came crashing back off the bar.
45' + 1'
A chance for a City breakaway comes to nothing as Nasri sprints clear and feeds Silva, but the Spaniard's footing rarely eludes him as he manages to trip over the ball in the face of retreating Hull defenders.
Livermore takes aim from 25 yards out after space opens up in front of him and he accepts the invitation to shoot, but sees his effort whistle just inches wide of the target, with Hart struggling to get across in time.
Hull are struggling to get in the faces of Manchester City, who look utterly comfortable on the ball in the Tigers' half of the field. Long and Jelavic are showing plenty of endeavour but precious little quality currently.
Hull break down the other end and Elmohamady is afforded space on the right to pick his head up and whip a ball into the area which Long meets with his head, but cannot direct a header on target.
Nasri and Toure link up neatly to keep City in the ascendency in and around Hull territory before Dzeko forces a corner on the near side.
OFFSIDE: David Meyler's crisp strike is ruled out for offside after the midfielder and Jelavic, who flicked on the cross into the penalty area, strayed offside in the build-up. Take nothing away from the finish, though, as he rifled it into the top corner past Joe Hart.
Yellow CardAhmed El Mohamady
Elmohamady is cautioned for a nasty late challenge on Silva as the two players went for the ball. City are stroking the ball around neatly in the Tigers' half at present.
Clichy feeds Toure who in turn picks out Zabaleta with an arcing crossfield pass which the right-back does superbly to keep in play, but Hull manage to deal with the danger ahead of the lurking Dzeko.
CROSSBAR: City perilously close to a second as Zabaleta's long-range thump comes crashing back off the underside of McGregor's crossbar. Referee Mason checks his watch to see if the goal-line technology had adjudged the ball to have crossed the line but that would have been vital from the visitors' perspective. So close.
City come forward in numbers and Zabaleta is freed on the right-hand side of the area but the Argentine cannot pick out someone in the centre, with Dzeko's movement, in particular, too static.
James Chester's pass is easily intercepted by Fernandinho but the Brazilian is unable to do enough with the ball in his efforts to release Nasri on the left, instead scooping the ball in the direction of McGregor, who collects.
Hull's gameplan appears obvious, particularly given the makeshift central defensive lineup of Garcia and Demichelis, with the hosts looking to get deliveries into the box from wide areas. Rosenior's right-wing centre is easily caught by Hart this time, before Toure fails to latch on to Nasri's attempted through-ball.
Long pulls wide and delivers a terrific cross for Jelavic but, again, he is unable to apply a decisive touch in the middle, with Garcia putting enough pressure on the frontman to deny him space.
Ahmed Elmohamady's deep cross to the back post is almost scooped up by Jelavic but he cannot quite stretch enough. Bruce will surely be encouraging his charges to press higher up the pitch and take the initiative with their numerical advantage.
City look to press home their lead by grabbing a quickfire second but Samir Nasri is unable to control a looping ball and it rolls all the way through to a grateful McGregor.
The goal has been enough to dampen spirits somewhat around the KC, with Manchester City fans particularly vociferous after a sumptuous finish from the talented playmaker.
GOAL! Unbelievably it's the 10 men who take the lead as Silva bends home a magnificent strike to hand his side what could be a crucial advantage. A lovely one-two with Yaya Toure sees the Spaniard find space some 25 yards out and, with the Hull City backline standing off, he wraps his foot around the ball to whip a finish into Allan McGregor's top-right corner.
Jelavic then looked to rub salt in evident City wounds as he lined one up from a free-kick, but was unable to beat the wall before having a follow-up effort cleared away too. Garcia has moved alongside Demichelis at the back now.
Red CardVincent Kompany
RED CARD: Manchester City are reduced to 10 men early on here, with Vincent Kompany dismissed for a professional foul on Jelavic. The defender was too slack on the ball and allowed the Croat to nip in and pick his pocket before hauling him back as he looked to close in on goal. Referee Lee Mason did not hesitate and brandished a straight red for the City skipper.
City break after the ball spins loose in midfield and Pablo Zabaleta looks to release Fernandinho down the right with a sliderule pass but Davies sees to the danger by clearing the ball away for a throw.
Shane Long retrieves possession and drives at the backline before slipping in Jelavic, but his run is not quite so well-timed as last time and the flag is raised on the far side.
Maynor Figueroa's long ball downfield is latched onto by Jelavic, who takes on Demichelis after the Argentine had played the striker onside, but the Hull frontman's cross is cleared by Clichy.
Tom Huddlestone flights a free-kick into the City area in the opening stages before City come forward through Davis Silva, but the Spaniard's cross is dealt with by Curtis Davies.
KICK-OFF: We are underway here at the KC Stadium, with the hosts getting the ball rolling.
We are just moments away from kick-off now and the pressure is building on a must-win match for the visitors but the hosts will be equally eager to ride the wave of securing that FA Cup semi-final and stave off any lingering threats they may be dragged into a relegation battle.
Hull's 2-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season was the first time in five meetings between the two sides that the Tigers have failed to score in. With the return of Jelavic and Long, the hosts will be hoping that was just an anomaly with the Croatian netting three in his last four appearances.
STAT: Manchester City have never won at Hull in the Premier League era, managing only a draw and a defeat in their two visits here. Indeed, you have to go way back to 1909 for their first-ever trip to Humberside to find a City win, meaning they have failed to pick up all three points in the last seven at the home of the Tigers.
City already have the League Cup sewn up but it is not what the club brought Pellegrini in to achieve, with the Premier League seen more or less as a minimum requirement, meaning they must improve their recent form which has taken in four defeats in their last eight games.
But Hull will undoubtedly be buoyed by their FA Cup success over Sunderland last week which sees them play in the semi-finals for the first time since 1930. City would have craved a final-four berth but must now concentrate their efforts on domestic matters and catching Chelsea.
Their trip to the KC Stadium is a tricky one, to say the very least, but there have been chinks in the Hull armour at home recently, having lost twice in succession, including a 4-1 thumping by Newcastle United last time out.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho spoke of the table being 'false', with City having three games in hand and a superior goal difference to that of the Blues, but surely Pellegrini and co would rather have points on the board than a fixture pile-up having not played a league match for 21 days.
City have endured a miserable week having also exited the FA Cup last weekend at home to Wigan, with a mooted quadruple now becoming a double at best. But they will have to take maximum points from today to keep any sort of pressure on Chelsea, who find themselves seven points clear, and nine clear of City, at the Premier League summit.
So Pellegrini brings back Martin Demichelis, who was suspended for the midweek defeat in the Nou Camp, as well as Gael Clichy and Javi Garcia, for Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner respectively, with Edin Dzeko also deputising for the injured Aguero.
Here are the teams in full. Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Garcia, Fernandinho; Silva, Toure, Nasri; Dzeko. Substitutes: Pantilimon, Lescott, Navas, Milner, Kolarov, Rodwell, Negredo.
Hull City: McGregor; Chester, Davies, Figueroa; Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler, Rosenior; Jelavic, Long. Substitutes: Harper, Bruce, Koren, Fryatt, Boyd, Sagbo, Aluko.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce is able to welcome back his January signings Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic to the starting XI after the duo missed the FA Cup win over Sunderland last weekend due to being cup-tied from earlier in the competition. Jake Livermore also returns.
Manchester City will be hoping to bounce back from the midweek disappointment of defeat in the Champions League to Barcelona but Manuel Pellegrini has lost Sergio Aguero to injury and also makes a further three changes for the trip to Humberside.
Good afternoon and welcome to this LIVE commentary of Hull City v Manchester City. My name is Tom Marshall-Bailey and I will be bringing you all the latest developments in the early afternoon kick-off at the KC Stadium.
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