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Citizens' made to work against ten-men Wigan...

Manchester City 3-0 Wigan Athletic: Line-up & stats
Premier League results/standings

Manchester City's hopes for Champions League football were kept alive with a 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at Eastlands.

The Citizens made hard work of it but a late Carlos Tevez hat-trick in the second half keeps the Citizens on track in a match where the visitors were also reduced to ten-men.

Emmanuel Adebayor returned to the City side after a four-match suspension. The Togo striker was one of four changes manager Roberto Mancini made to his team following the home defeat by Everton. Shaun-Wright Phillips, Javier Garrido and Patrick Vieira were also included in the starting line-up.

Wigan started with one change following their victory against Burnley, with goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic drafted in because of a Chris Kirkland illness.

The first threatening move of the game arrived courtesy of the hosts. Carlos Tevez was fed the ball and made way to the by-line to the right of goal. The Argentine rolled the ball across the box and Adebayor was in the right place hit it at goal but Titus Bramble produced a great block to save any exhertion from his keeper.

It did not take long for Stojkovic to be called into action though as minutes later, City produced an even better chance when Shaun Wright-Phillips' cross into the box found Tevez, the striker forcing a great save from Stojkovic to keep the game goalless.

City were fired up and their intensity from kick-off seemed to ruffle Martinez's men, who were struggling to get their passing game together. It took them until the 27th minute to test Shay Given in goal, with Rodallega reminding everyone the threat he poses.

The Colombian went on a great run from the halfway line before cutting in and beating two players before shooting on the edge of the box. The shot was deflected and Given reacted well to spring to his left to claw the ball away.

Tevez was proving a constant threat down the other end and he showed his own individual skill when he tied Maynor Figueroa and Mario Melchiot in knots before cutting into the box and trying to curl the ball into the far post. Luckily for the Latics it bounced just wide.

With no goal and the minutes ticking away, the home crowd started to get frustrated and indeed it was to be Wigan with the next chance to score when a Scharner shot was just pushed round the post by Given.

In the final minutes of the half, Adam Johnson did well to get a cross into the box but like most of the match so far, a Wigan player was in the way, Melchiot rising highest to intercept with a crucial header to keep the scores level going into the break.


Tenacious Tevez |
Striker's workrate pays off after late hat-trick

Half-time saw the introduction of Craig Bellamy for the ineffectual Wright-Phillips, with City becoming anxious to find the breakthrough.

And as soon as the 47th minute the Citizens did have the ball in the back of the net, but Adebayor's tap in after
Stojkovic parried Tevez's shot, was correctly judged offside.

A counter by the Latics had them inches from goal soon later. A long ball up to Rodallega was brought down superbly by the Colombian, who shrugged off Pablo Zabaleta and Bramble before poking an effort past Given, who could only stand rooted to the spot as it bounced agonizingly wide.

Wigan had their game-plan spot on in frustrating the hosts, but their job was made a great deal harder when they went a man down.

Some typically tencious tackling from Tevez saw him dis-possess Caldwell, and as the ball bounced free both players went for it but the Scotsman slid in with a scissor-tackle and with his right foot high so referee Stuart Atwell had no choice but to show him the red.

Suprisingly straight after going down to ten-men, Wigan were a fraction from scoring against the run of play when Marcelo Moreno brought down a 50-yard pass from Melchiot and curled an effort inches wide to have the home crowd gasping.

After that though it was all one-way traffic for a spell as City increased the pressure and surged forward.

The pressure eventually had to tell and in the 72nd minute, City finally found the breakthrough. 

Vieira lifted the ball over the top for and poor goalkeeping from
Stojkovic saw him come for the ball without any conviction leaving the onrushing Tevez the simple task of tapping the ball in.

The goal was a blow to Wigan and they looked truly deflated when they conceded another to the same striker minutes later.

The ball was played into the box and Vieira cleverly flicked it onto the back post where Tevez was waiting to fire home.

Martinez's side were down to ten and looked a beaten side after the second goal, but City, with their tails up, kept pushing for another. It was none other than the little Argentine again who would add gloss to the result when he made it a late hat-trick.

The striker made a good run and went past Paul Scharner before Tevez sent the keeper the wrong way to compound Wigan's misery.

The hat-trick all but ended the contest and the Latics were there only playing for their pride. They held on to deny any more goals whilst City were content with the three points, which puts them in good stead for Fourth spot in the league.






 

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