A virtuoso display from Sergio Aguero lifted Manchester City to a 3-2 away win against West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side picked up only their second away win of the season after playing the Baggies off the park with some sumptuous football, led by their attacking talisman Aguero.
City went ahead in the ninth minute when Aguero fired in to the roof of the net from close range after Jesus Navas fed Pablo Zabaleta with the Argentine able to find his compatriot with an accurate pull-back.
Yaya Toure doubled the lead on 24 minutes when Samir Nasri and Aleksandr Kolarov combined on the left wing before the Serbian full-back cut a cross back to the Ivorian giant who side-footed the ball into the opposite corner from six yards out. An early rally from West Brom saw Shane Long find his way into the box and appeared to be tripped by Kolarov for a penalty but referee Chris Foy gave nothing.
A penalty for Toure in the 74th minute would wrap up the victory for City though as Kolarov and Nasri combined to release the full-back into the box where he was tripped by Claudio Yacob.
West Brom were able to pull back a consolation back after a low Matej Vydra cross found City’s Javi Garcia at the back post. His touch was going wide but it came off Costel Pantilimon on the floor and in to the back of the net with seven minutes to go.
A last-minute Victor Anichebe goal then made the scoreline more flattering for the Baggies despite being outplayed for much of the match.
City go third with the win and just six points off the top of the league while West Brom remain in 13th, five points clear of relegation.
9’ – AGUERO OPENS SCORING: Wonderful pass from Navas in to Zabaleta who got to the byline and cut back to Aguero eight yards out. The diminutive Argentine just doesn’t miss from there.
24’ – TOURE MAKES IT TWO: Beautiful finish from the giant Ivorian as he guides the ball with his instep from six yards out at the near post into the bottom corner of the far post after Kolarov cut the ball back to him. Lovely finish.
49’ – PENALTY PAIN: Long goes down after a seemingly obvious trip from Kolarov as the Irishman looked to get his shot away but Chris Foy dismissed appeals. Contentious decision.
74’ – TWO FOR TOURE: Toure got his second from the penalty spot sending Myhill the wrong way. Nasri played in Kolarov in to the penalty area and in a similar situation to earlier, was tripped by Yacob for the penalty.
84’ – OWN GOAL: Pantilimon inadvertently sends the ball into his own net after Javi Garcia rebounds the ball back towards the goal. It was going wide but the lanky Romanina couldn’t move out of the way and the ball went in off him.
90+4 – FLATTERING FINISH: Anichebe rolled Demichelis in the final seconds of the match to finish past Pantilimon into the bottom right corner but really it put a gloss on the scoreline in a poor defeat.
Manchester city enjoyed 59% possession against West Brom and made 15 chances with five of them on target.
West Brom scored two goals against Manchester City for the first time in their last six attempts but succumbed to their fifth defeat in that time.
Should West Brom have had a penalty? Manchester City were 2-0 up and cruising before Long finally managed to jink his way in to the box for an opportunity. But before he could pull the trigger, Kolarov appeared to trip the Irish striker and it looked like a stonewall penalty. Down the other end just 15 minutes later and Chris Foy was happy to give the decision Kolarov’s way for a penalty. At 2-1, it could have been a total different game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sergio Aguero (Man City): Despite scoring twice, Yaya Toure was eclipsed by the in-form Argentine. He scored in the ninth minute to put City into the lead and caused the West Brom back four endless problems all game with his running, dribbling and workrate. He was unlucky not to get more.
West Brom: Myhill 5, Reid 5, McAuley 5, Olsson 5, Ridgewell 5, Yacob, Brunt, Amalfitano 4, Morrison, Berahino 6, Long 4. Subs: Gera, Anichebe 7, Vydra 7.
Man City: Pantilimon 5, Zabaleta 6, Kompany 8, Demichelis 8, Kolarov 7, Fernandinho 8, Toure 8, Navas 6, Nasri 7, Aguero 9, Dzeko 6. Subs: Milner 6, Rodwell n/a, Garcia 4.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET