City too strong for QPR
Champions overcome nervy moments to claim three points
Last Updated: 02/09/12 9:04am
Manchester City added a third in stoppage time but there was little of the drama of May as they beat QPR 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Goal of the match: Aleksandr Kolarov lifted the ball through to Carlos Tevez in the left channel and he hooked the ball across to Edin Dzeko who headed in from close range.
Talking point: Roberto Mancini's men are still waiting for a clean sheet. They'll need to cut out the sloppiness in the Champions League.
This was a rematch of the final game of last season that saw City win the title with moments to spare and this time it was Carlos Tevez's turn to seal it late on.
How Roberto Mancini's men had not finished this contest before then is a mystery as their dominance of the game in the early stages was total.
It was no surprise when Yaya Toure gave the home side the lead after 16 minutes of continual pressure and Mark Hughes must have feared the worse.
But the goal that would have doubled the lead never came and just before the hour mark it was Bobby Zamora who scored after Joe Hart could only parry Andrew Johnson's deflected effort.
That appeared to jolt the champions back to life and good work from Tevez found Edin Dzeko just moments later to head home and restore the lead.
The game opened up even more in the final half hour and while City had the better openings there were nervy moments for the home crowd as Ryan Nelsen twice nearly found a second equaliser.
Ultimately it was Tevez who had the final say to ensure City claimed all three points - just as they had on that memorable day in May, but in somewhat more subdued circumstances.
QPR's changes included a debut for new signing Esteban Granero while goalkeeper Green, dropped from the England squad this week, started what could be his last match as first choice.
The 32-year-old only joined the club in the summer but now faces an uncertain future following this week's capture of Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.
Scott Sinclair was the only one of City's five deadline day signings to make their squad but did not get off the bench.
City, watched by Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho ahead of their Champions League meeting, soon established control with Toure bossing the midfield.
QPR survived a scare in the first minute when Dzeko, starting for the first time this season, glanced a header wide from a corner.
The Bosnian went even closer as he was first to meet another corner but this time Fabio da Silva, on loan from Manchester United, did well to hack off the line.
Toure powered in on the rebound but this time former City playmaker Shaun Wright-Phillips blocked.
The City pressure continued as Rangers were starved of possession and a Kolarov cross almost fell for Jack Rodwell after a touch from Tevez.
QPR's first opportunity came from a City mistake as Rodwell overhit a backpass and the ball dropped over his own bar for a corner. The visitors were unable to capitalise.
It seemed inevitable City would take the lead and their opener came in the 16th minute as Tevez saw an effort blocked from yet another corner but Toure followed up to thump home.
Green got a hand to it but could do little on what was shaping up to be a difficult afternoon for him.
Former Real Madrid man Granero had QPR's first shot when he found space outside the area but Joe Hart was not troubled.
David Silva tricked his way into the QPR box and dug the ball out from under his feet to force Green to save and Samir Nasri was unable to follow up.
Silva spurned another opportunity when he was played through by a superb long ball from Kolarov. The Spaniard failed to get away a shot quick enough and Fabio produced another timely block.
Tevez fired over as City continued to power forward and Rodwell wasted an opening when he opted to pass instead of shoot.
QPR's opportunities were limited but Granero looked composed when allowed time on the ball but missed the target with another attempt.
City returned for the second half with much the same approach as the first and threatened a second straight from the restart as Tevez drilled an awkward shot at Green.
The tireless Pablo Zabaleta, probably knowing new signing Maicon might be after his place, went even closer as he took a fine pass from Silva and curled an effort onto the bar.
Yet as much as they were dominant, recent history threatened to repeat itself as QPR levelled against the run of play just before the hour.
Johnson stole possession outside the area and forced a good save from Hart with a deflected shot. Hart could not recover his footing quick enough to regather and Zamora stole in to head home.
Yet in contrast to last May, City began their reply earlier and without falling behind.
They swiftly moved back up the field and Tevez did well to keep the ball in play and cross for Dzeko to head home at close range.
It should have been the sign for City to wrap up the game but despite continuing to carve out chances - Dzeko twice shooting only to be flagged offside - it remained a slender lead.
There were definite signs of nerves when Granero whipped in a free-kick and Nelsen narrowly failed to touch in at the far post.
City wrapped up the job in injury time as Tevez, moving back into an onside position, diverted the ball home from Dzeko's shot.
After apparently being told off for lifting his shirt in recent weeks, he kept it down this time.
|Manchester City||Team Statistics||Queens Park Rangers|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||4|
|65||1st Half Poss.||35|
|55.1||2nd Half Poss.||44.9|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|