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April 5, 2014
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 47009
Y. Touré 3'
S. Nasri 45'+
E. Džeko 45'+
S. Jovetić 81'
R. Lambert 37'
City move to within a point of Liverpool with a game in hand, though Brendan Rodgers' side can stretch their lead against West Ham tomorrow. They looked fantastic in patches today, and they will need to produce more of the same at Anfield next week to remain favourites for the title. I've been Tom Maston and thanks for joining me.
The final whistle blows and Pellegrini's 50th match in charge of Manchester City ends in a comfortable victory. Silva's offside in the second goal will provide the main talking point, and Pochettino is on the field berating the officials regarding that decision.
90' + 2'
We are into three minutes of stoppage time and City are winding down the clock. This has been a very professional second half display after a tough opening 45 minutes.
A worry here for City as Toure stays down in the centre circle after a challenge with Lambert. He eventually gets to his feet but he doesn't look comfortable.
Southampton are doing all they can to put the City players under pressure but in truth the two goals they conceded in first half stoppage time hit them very hard and they have never recovered.
OFF THE POST! He opened the scoring with a placed finish and Toure almost ended it with the same type of strike as Nasri's pull back finds the Ivorian. His shot is heading in the bottom corner, but Gazzaniga does well to turn it onto the post.
Southampton have been slightly unfortunate here but they are beginning to look tired. With goal difference possibly proving all important at the end of the season, City will be eager for more before the final whistle.
GREAT SAVE! City looking to run riot here as Negredo gets clear of the defence but he shoots straight at Gazzaniga and the goalkeeper spreads himself well to keep it out.
Assist Jesús Navas González
Goal Stevan Jovetic
GOAL!!! All over at the Etihad as City again carve Southampton apart. Navas is given too much space to get an early cross in, and after Gazzaniga again misses it, Jovetic slots into an empty net.
Pochettino also makes his third change as Cork is replaced by Wanyama in midfield.
Yellow Card Yaya Touré
The yellow card is out again as Toure is rightly penalised for simulation as he came under pressure from Fonte as he ran into the box. Referee Foy on the spot to get that one right.
Pellegrini makes his third and final change as Silva, whose involvement in the second goal remains the main controversy of this afternoon, is replaced by Jovetic.
As if by magic Lallana turns on the edge of the box before playing Lambert in on goal, but the striker's low effort from a tight angle flashes just wide. Pochettino has also made a change, with Gallagher on for Davis.
City's defence and midfield are pushing forward and forcing Southampton backwards when they get the ball. Lallana and Lambert are struggling to find space.
Negredo hasn't scored in 11 appearances, and his confidence clearly isn't what it was as he is found in acres of space by Silva, but his approach to goal is tentative and Fonte can get across to tackle on the edge of the box.
The match has hit a bit of a lull as we enter the final 20 minutes. Pochettino may have to change things up and give City something else to think about if the Saints are to get back into this one.
Yellow Card Javi García
SAVED! Gazzaniga is called upon again at his near post as Navas gets a shot away that is kept out by the goalkeeper's feet. Meanwhile Garcia is booked for a nasty challenge on Lallana in midfield.
With a quarter of the game to go Southampton are certainly not out of this. They have weathered the City storm and are now passing the ball around nicely inside the hosts' half.
The ball goes out of play and Negredo can now come on in place of Dzeko, who has had a mixed day today.
Better from Southampton as Lambert and Lallana show quick feet inside the box. Meanwhile, Negredo is being readied on the City bench by Pellegrini.
Silva stays down holding his ankle after a tackle by Cork, and though there may have been some concern inside the stadium, the home fans will be happy to see him get back to his feet.
GOOD SAVE! City are flowing through the gears here and Dzeko should do better after Silva slips him in. Gazzaniga does well to parry the Bosnian's effort at his near post before he slices the rebound out for a throw. The best chance of the second half to date.
City again move the ball quickly before Nasri finds space to cross on the right, his ball is behind Dzeko, but Kolarov is able to get a shot in from 20 yards that is deflected wide. The resulting corner is just about cleared by the visitors.
All the play is in the Southampton half at the moment, but their defence is holding firm. Whether they can keep it up remains to be seen.
Toure is given the space to go on one of his trademark runs towards goal, but as he enters the box, Fonte barges into him. City appeal for a penalty but Foy waves it away.
Shaw is being kept busy here, with Navas and Silva both coming forward on the right-hand side. The young England defender is doing OK at present with Hodgson watching on.
As with the first half, City have begun brightly, though the Saints do look fairly comfortable when they do find themselves in possession. Pellegrini will be hoping his side can keep it tight for another 20 minutes or so and the three points should be theirs.
City certainly seem to have upped the tempo since the break, though Navas wastes an opportunity to pick out Dzeko as his chipped cross from the right is easy for Gazzaniga to collect.
Fernandinho is the man replaced by Garcia as City get us underway for the second period...
The two teams are making their way back onto the field of play at the Etihad, with City set to bring Garcia on at the break. Pellegrini obviously hoping he can help the hosts keep possession better than most of his players in the first half.
Pochettino will certainly not be happy with the lack of an offside flag in the build-up to Nasri's goal, but he certainly will be pleased with the way his side have gone about this one. Pellegrini still has work to do at the break to make sure his team don't step off the gas again.
The half-time whistle blows and the Etihad is now a much happier place after those two late first-half goals. The Blues finally woke up in stoppage time and put the Southampton defence to the sword. The Saints will still feel they are in this one given the way they have played in the first half.
45' + 4'
Assist Aleksandar Kolarov
45' + 4'
Goal Edin Dzeko
GOAL!!! More superb play by City, though Gazzaniga won't be happy with this one. The ball is worked out to Kolarov on the left, the goalkeeper comes for the cross and misses it, and Dzeko is there to head into the empty net.
45' + 3'
Replays of the goal certainly show that Silva was in an offside position when Dzeko flicked the ball into his path after Toure's original pass. Pochettino is berating the fourth official on the touchline.
45' + 1'
Assist David Silva
45' + 1'
Goal Samir Nasri
GOAL!!! As we enter stoppage time at the end of the half, City come to life in the final third. A wonderful flick puts Silva in behind, and the Spain man has time to square to Nasri, and the France international can't miss. Superb passing football.
Yellow Card Fernandinho
Fernandinho picks up the first booking of the afternoon as he blatantly handballs as Lovren brings the ball out of defence.
Lallana turns Demichelis on the edge of the box, and Kolarov has to come across and put the ball out for a corner. Shaw's ball into the box isn't great though and City can breathe again.
Other than the two penalties, neither goalkeeper has been tested in this first half, and that is particularly surprising given City's home record. Expect Pellegrini to lay into them at the break given this performance.
The Etihad is a nervy place at present, with City looking far from a title-winning side this afternoon. If anything, Southampton's impressive passing game would probably lead someone who didn't know better to believing they are towards the top of the table.
Penalty Goal Rickie Lambert
GOAL!!! The England man has never missed a penalty for the Saints, and he maintains that record with a fantastic finish. Hart guesses right but the ball is right in the corner and the England goalkeeper can't get near it. All-square at the Etihad, and the Saints deserve it.
PENALTY! Chris Foy points to the spot for the second time and Southampton now have a spot kick. Cork runs from midfield and is tripped by Zabaleta. Lambert to step up from 12 yards...
BIG CHANCE! City do create something from the set-piece as Nasri swings it over to the back post where Dzeko is lurking unmarked. The striker makes good contact but his header flicks the crossbar on the way over. Should have done much better.
Some better play from City involving Silva, Navas and Toure leads to the Ivorian winning a free-kick on the right hand side of the area. Opportunity for City here...
Lambert is causing the City defence all sorts of problems as he looks to drop into a midfield position before playing balls in behind. Kompany and Demichelis need to decide whether to go with him or remain in the line.
The break in play for Rodriguez's injury seems to have helped City, with the home side looking much more comfortable on the ball and passing it around well. Still to really test Gazzaniga though.
The visitors continue to press and Lambert tries his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards, but his effort is always off-target and Hart can watch it wide of his right-hand post.
A round of applause goes up around the stadium as Rodriguez leaves the field looking absolutely distraught. Ward-Prowse is the man on to replace him.
Looking again, it seems to be his knee that is hurt after he lands, and with Roy Hodgson watching on, the former Burnley man could be seeing his World Cup dream go up in smoke. Here's hoping it isn't as bad as it looks.
Trouble here for Southampton as Rodriguez goes down clutching his right leg after stretching to control a ball over the top. He looks in some pain, and the physio is signalling for a stretcher to be brought onto the field.
The home fans are certainly growing restless, with Southampton continuing to dominate possession and territory. They remain behind, though, and I'm sure the City fans won't mind if the score stays this way.
Southampton threaten again as Lallana feeds Chambers on the right, and the full-back finds his captain inside the box, but the midfielder can only flick his header over the top. Lallana is running this match at present.
City waste a decent chance to go 2-0 up as Silva swings a free-kick over from the left and Kolarov is able to head it goalwards unchallenged, but it is far too high and Gazzaniga can watch it float over his crossbar.
The visitors are well on top here, and they are almost in on goal as Lambert chips the ball over the City defence and Lallana can't quite bring it down with only Hart to beat. Pochettino shows his disappointment on the touchline, as the hosts were carved open then.
Davis swings the ball in from the right, but it is just too high for Rodriguez as he can only flick the ball out for a throw.
More good play from Southampton leads to Demichelis putting a Cork ball over the top out for a corner as Lambert puts him under pressure...
Pochettino will be happy with the way his side has responded in the last few minutes. with Shaw pushing forward on the left-hand side with regularity. Zabaleta is in for a test this afternoon.
Southampton are finally able to keep the ball for a period and allow a number of their players on the ball. Eventually Rodriguez cuts inside and crosses towards Lambert, but the England striker just can't get his head on the ball with no defenders in proximity.
There is plenty of uncertainty at the back for the Saints, and Pochettino will be wary of what City can do to backlines who lack confidence. He needs the likes of Lovren to take control and calm his team-mates down.
Southampton look shell-shocked by that start, and they almost find themselves two down as SIlva feeds Zabaleta, who in turn finds Nasri 15 yards from goal, but his shot flies just wide.
Penalty Goal Yaya Touré
GOAL!!! Toure doesn't miss from the spot, nonchalantly passing the ball into the bottom corner and sending Gazzaniga the wrong way. There are certainly some nerves around the stadium, but that will help appease them.
PENALTY! After a bright start by the visitors, they have been hit with a massive blow as Chris Foy awards City a penalty. Silva feeds Dzeko on the left before the striker cuts inside and is brought down by Fonte. Toure to take for the hosts...
Southampton kick-off and we are underway...
We are through the pre-match niceties and both teams are ready for kick-off. Can City keep up their title push, or will Southampton put a spanner in the works? We're about to find out...
As is practically the norm in Manchester, there is drizzle in the air at the Etihad, meaning the surface should prove greasy and aide passing football. Both these sides like to get the ball down on the floor, so we should be in for a fantastic encounter.
The two teams are in the tunnel and the Etihad is quickly filling up as kick-off approaches. We are now just under five minutes away from getting going in Manchester.
With Aguero missing, City will be hoping Edin Dzeko can continue his slight resurgenge in front of goal. The Bosnia international has been preferred to Alvaro Negredo in recent weeks, and may have to show a a little more postional awareness to trouble Lovren and Fonte in the Saints defence.
If Southampton are to derail Manchester City's drive towards the title then their attacking trio of Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert are going to be key. The trio have played a part in 53 goals this season in terms of goals and assists, and Kompany and Demichelis will have to be on their toes to halt them. Fernandinho should also have an importnant role in breaking up play in midfield.
Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes to his Southampton side that won 4-0 against Newcastle United last Saturday. Goalkeeper Artur Boruc is ruled out through injury so Paulo Gazzaniga deputises while Morgan Schneiderlin replaces James Ward-Prowse in midfield.
City make just one change from their draw with Arsenal last week, with Kolarov replacing Clichy at left-back. Sergio Aguero remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, though he could be fit for next week's match against Liverpool after going through a fitness test on the pitch prior to kick-off today.
Southampton subs: Cropper, Clyne, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Hooiveld, Gallagher
Southampton: Gazzaniga; Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis; Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert
Manchester City subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Garcia, Milner, Jovetic, Negredo
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure; Navas, Nasri, Silva; Dzeko.
Before we go any further, the two team line-ups are in ahead of kick-off in just over 20 minutes...
Southampton, meanwhile, have little to play for, with the Saints having occupied a top half position for the whole of the campaign, but with a number of their players vying for World Cup places, their performances are unlikely to drop in their final six matches. They could still realistically catch Manchester United and Tottenham and claim a Europa League spot, though a win here would be essential in them achieving that.
Pellegrini's side currently sit four points and two places behind leaders Liverpool in third, but with two matches in hand and a trip to Anfield still to come, the Blues know that victories in their remaining eight matches will see them finish the season as champions. With their form back on track after a tricky period post-Christmas, few would bet against them picking up the silverware next month.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Premier League encounter between Manchester City and Southampton. Manuel Pellegrini's side still have their fate in their own hands as they chase their second title in three years. The Saints won't just roll over at the Etihad, though, and this should prove one of City's toughest tests in the run-in to the end of the campaign. I'm Tom Maston and I'll be guiding you through all the action.
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