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Barclays Premier League

Etihad Stadium (ATT 47,293) 24th September 2011 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: H Webb

Man City Manchester City vs Everton Everton

Man City 2

M Balotelli (68)
J Milner (89)

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Super-subs lift City

Mancini's men back on form after goals from Balotelli and Milner

Last Updated: 24/09/11 7:30pm

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Mario Balotelli and James Milner stepped off the bench to fire Manchester City to a 2-0 victory over Everton.

Man of the match: Mario Balotelli made the difference in this game, stepping off the bench on the hour mark to break the deadlock just eight minutes later with a sweet finish, albeit aided by a slight deflection from Phil Jagielka. Goal of the match: James Milner's first Premier League goal for City set the seal on the contest but it was the pass from David Silva which made it so special. Pass of the match: Silva had been shackled by Jack Rodwell for much of the match, but showed his class in the closing moments with a perfectly-weighted ball through to Milner, cutting out the defence but also not giving Tim Howard a chance of claiming. Save of the match: Howard was much the busier of the two goalkeepers and had to be at his best in the second period with a diving save to push away a curling effort from Yaya Toure which looked destined for the bottom corner. Talking points: Tim Cahill was forced off after a challenge with Vincent Kompany for which the Australian was booked. He went in late, but took a heavy boot on the ankle from the City skipper.

The Toffees looked set to frustrate Roberto Mancini's men at the Etihad Stadium until the deadlock of a largely turgid game was finally broken by Balotelli in the 68th minute, with the aid of a slight deflection off Phil Jagielka.

And the visitors then shot themselves in the foot in the closing moments as Royston Drenthe gifted the ball to David Silva, who produced a delightful through ball to release Milner with the England man firing beyond Tim Howard.

Silva had previously been well shackled by a man-to-man marking job from Jack Rodwell as Everton came to Manchester with a clear plan of frustrating their wealthy opponents.

But once Balotelli, who had only been on the field for eight minutes, stroked home from outside the box after Sergio Aguero's neat run and back-heel, there was only going to be one winner.

And to add to David Moyes' woes, Tim Cahill was forced out of the action in the second period with what looked to be a nasty ankle injury after being stepped on by Vincent Kompany following the Australian's late challenge on City's skipper.

There could not be a greater contrast between City's vast wealth and the relative hand-to-mouth existence of their North West neighbours.

Yet Everton are a stoic bunch and despite enduring another summer of fiscal austerity, manager Moyes has engineered a decent start.

Pressure

And there was an amazing record against City to protect. Since Sheikh Mansour completed his Blues buy-out in 2008, the clubs have met on six occasions. Everton have won five, including the last four, proving money cannot buy you everything.

Moyes' masterplan was to send Rodwell scurrying around after danger-man Silva. It was a task Rodwell stuck to gamely, and clearly Silva did not like, even though he responded in textbook fashion, moving himself next to Leighton Baines, in theory creating a huge hole for the remainder of City's midfield to fill.

That they did not manage it was in part due to Phil Neville and Seamus Coleman, who tackled anything that moved, and part due to lacklustre displays from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, neither of whom imposed themselves on the contest.

Indeed, there were only 10 minutes of the opening period remaining when Howard was forced into his first save.

It was a good one though, the American parrying away Aguero's goalbound curling shot despite the not inconsiderable frame of Edin Dzeko closing in.

Howard also denied Gareth Barry shortly afterwards as City began to turn the screw, although by the time referee Howard Webb blew his whistle for half-time, Everton were showing more attacking intent than they had done since the opening moments, when they were actually on top.

The hosts came close to opening their account straight after the restart when former City skipper Sylvain Distin rather unconvincingly combined with Howard to turn Nasri's dangerous cross behind.

Mancini's men were unable to maintain the pressure though, so with an hour gone, the Italian turned to Balotelli, ahead of deposed skipper Carlos Tevez. A very astute move it turned out to be too.

Architect

Everton were still reorganising following the exit of Cahill, who had earlier guided a header just over but then came off worst in a challenge with Kompany that led to him becoming the fourth visiting player booked when the Italian struck.

Aguero was the architect, crabbing in from the right flank before rolling the ball into Balotelli's path as he found his own route into the penalty area blocked.

Without a league goal since February, but becalmed after a pre-season row with his manager in the United States and a scorer in the midweek Carling Cup win over Birmingham, the Italy striker took aim, benefiting from a slight deflection off Jagielka as the ball nestled in the far corner.

The 21-year-old immediately sprinted off to his manager to celebrate, any irritation that has at times existed between the pair currently not in evidence.

Within a couple of minutes, Silva had almost made it two, drilling a low shot against the base of Howard's left-hand post, the Everton keeper knowing he was getting nowhere near it.

Howard was able to reach Balotelli's next effort, a stinging shot from the edge of the area that was heading for the bottom corner.

The Toffees were on the back foot though and only an offside flag prevented them conceding a second after Silva had tapped home Balotelli's cross.

Milner eventually secured the win, racing onto Silva's through ball before keeping his nerve to beat Howard in the final minute.

Manchester CityTeam StatisticsEverton
2Goals0
01st Half Goals0
7Shots on Target3
10Shots off Target4
2Blocked Shots1
7Corners5
9Fouls13
2Offsides1
1Yellow Cards5
0Red Cards0
87.3Passing Success79.1
22Tackles19
86.4Tackles Success84.2
62.8Possession37.2
51Territorial Advantage49

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 12 32
2 Southampton 12 26
3 Manchester City 12 24
4 Manchester United 12 19
5 Newcastle United 12 19
6 West Ham United 12 18
7 Swansea City 12 18
8 Arsenal 12 17
9 Everton 12 17
10 Tottenham Hotspur 12 17
11 Stoke City 12 15
12 Liverpool 12 14
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 13
14 Sunderland 12 13
15 Crystal Palace 12 12
16 Aston Villa 12 12
17 Hull City 12 11
18 Leicester City 12 10
19 Burnley 12 10
20 Queens Park Rangers 12 8

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