Manchester City scored a late winner to shatter the hopes of Aston Villa to at least earn a point from this crucial away fixture. The away side came back from two goals deficit to restore parity into the game but failed to maintain that. Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho scored in the 89th minute for the Cityzens to clinch full points.
Sergio Aguero scored an early goal courtesy a tomfoolery by opposition goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Villa defender Ron Vlaar had back passed to Guzan who childishly forwarded the ball towards a forthcoming Aguero. The Argentine striker had an empty net in front of him and he tapped it in.
Just after the goal Manchester City got yet another opportunity to increase the lead. Jesus Navas followed a long ball from Yaya Toure and beat left-back Kieran Richardson to enter the penalty box. Fortunately for the away side, Richardson tracked back quickly and blocked Navasa attempt.
Around 16th minute, Aleksander Kolarov curled a free-kick inside the penalty box which was met by Fernando. The latter attempted a header, but it just went over the post. Had it been in perfect place, Guzan would have had tough times stopping the ball. Brad Guzan looked extremely shaky and nervous in his approach after conceding a silly early goal. Manchester City attackers intimidated the USA international every time they approached the goal mouth. The defenders too were not up to the mark and gave away back passes which could have increased the goal tally. From one such back pass from right-back Bacuna, Navas got an opportunity to score. But the centre backs did their job well to deny the Spaniard a goal scoring chance.
Slowly Villa took the grip of the game in their hands. They outclassed their mighty opponents in possession and had the better chances. On several occasions, Christian Benteke and company troubled the City defenders and came very close to score an equaliser. Thanks to a resolute defensive show, Manchester City went into the dressing room in the half time with goala s lead.
The second half resumed with equal intensity and zeal among the two teams. Aston Villa looked hungry for goals as they had to move out of the relegation zone in the league table. City, on the other hand, were concentrating on defending and finding ways to construct a counter attack.
Around the hour mark, Villa got an opportunity in the attacking third. Bacuna had a chance to blast the ball, but Pablo Zabaletta pulled off a timely tackle to deny the defender. Tim Sherwooda men were mounting the pressure and looked desperate for an equaliser.
In the 65th minute, Manchester City earned a free-kick just outside the box. Aleksander Kolarov was the man who crafted a fantastic free-kick which curled the ball inside the net. Brad Guzan stood no chance of saving the goal.
Aston Villa came back strongly immediately after conceding Kolarova s goal. Just after a couple of minutes, they won a free-kick. The curling free-kick from the left flank was unconvincingly cleared by the City defenders and it fell into the feet of Tom Cleverley. The former Manchester United lashed out shot which went inside the goal opening Aston Villaa s goal account.
Tim Sherwooda s side gained a huge boost from the goal and went all guns blazing. Manchester City were forced to defend in numbers and they could go ahead with a positive move. The attacking approach paid off as Carlos Sanchez netted the equalizing goal in the 85th minute from a corner.
Couples of minutes later, The Villans constructed yet another well planned move which saw Belgian striker Christian Benteke in front of Joe Hart in a one on one situation. Unfortunately, the linesman called it an offside and denied Villa a sure winner. It was definitely a controversial call as they television replay suggested otherwise.
Finally, second half substitute Fernandinho picked up the winning from Aleksander Kolarova s corner. The Brazilian chest trapped the cross brilliantly and whipped out a neat volley to find the back of the net. It was surely a heart break for the visitors who were hoping to earn a point against the Premier League giants.
Aston Villa are still struggling to get out of the relegation zone. They are currently placed in the 15th position, but a win for their nearest rivals may demote them to the bottom of the league table. Manchester City, on the other hand, are comfortably placed among the top four teams. Back to back home wins have secured their position.
Tim Sherwood though can gather positives from their brilliant show at the Etihad stadium. It will be fair to say that they were the better side and dominated Manchester City. It was a sub-par show by City and Manuel Pellegrini accepted the truth in his post match interviews.