Edin Dzeko double gives 10-man Manchester City last-gasp win at West Brom
Last Updated: 20/10/12 7:33pm
Manchester City salvaged a 2-1 injury-time win at West Brom despite playing more than an hour with 10 men.
The champions' unbeaten league record looked dead and buried when James Milner's early dismissal was followed by a Shane Long goal (67), but substitute Edin Dzeko scored twice in 10 minutes (80 & 90) to keep his side within four points of leaders Chelsea.
And despite a frantic late assault from the home side, City were value for the win as Albion's hitherto perfect home record went by the wayside.
Steve Clarke's side - peerless at The Hawthorns in their first four games - were second-best from the start and it took Ben Foster's best to keep out a Micah Richards header.
Even Milner's red card - brandished for a trip on Long as the Irishman bore down on goal - failed to alter the flow of play, Mario Balotelli firing at Foster after a first half meander and Carlos Tevez testing the keeper after the break.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Dzeko was only on for 11 minutes but his contribution swung the game.
- Goal of the match: Dzeko's late winner was the result of a sweeping counter-attack and a splendid pass from Aguero.
- Save of the match: Hart leapt to his right to turn over Lukaku's bicycle kick a minute before Dzeko's winner.
- Talking point: City believed Lescott could cover Long when Milner was sent off, but Clattenburg made the right call.
- Turning point: Dzeko came on in the 79th minute with City a man and a goal down.
- Lucky escape: City could have been down to nine before half-time but Balotelli was allowed another chance by Clattenburg.
Yaya Toure then missed the target from four yards, and it looked like City would pay a heavy toll when Long expertly redirected a miscued Peter Odemwingie shot beyond Joe Hart.
But Dzeko headed in a Tevez cross with Foster nowhere and, moments after Hart had kept out Romelu Lukaku's overhead, the Bosnian bundled home Sergio Aguero's centre after a quick counter-attack.
Albion opened promisingly and the recalled Marc-Antoine Fortune flashed a low shot across the face of goal but City quickly assumed control.
Samir Nasri's free-kick was deflected wide and, from the resulting corner by Gareth Barry, a goal-bound header from Micah Richards was blocked by Gabriel Tamas.
Mario Balotelli burst into the Baggies box after exchanging passes with Barry but his eventual shot was comfortably dealt with by Ben Foster.
The former England keeper was more severely tested in tipping over a Richards header from Nasri's corner.
Balotelli became the first player to be yellow carded after a challenge on Youssouf Yacob.
After 23 minutes City were reduced to 10 men when Milner was sent off for a professional foul.
The England player was the last defender when bringing down Long as he raced on to a pass from James Morrison.
Tempers were becoming frayed with Long booked for handball and Gabriel Tamas and Yacob then yellow carded for a fouls on Gael Clichy and Tevez respectively.
Hart needed treatment after saving bravely at the feet of Graham Dorrans whowas played in by Gareth McAuley.
Foster clung on to Nasri's volley from a Tevez centre and then denied Balotelli after he had showed great skill in evading three challenges.
But referee Mark Clattenburg spoke to City skipper Vincent Kompany after a challenge by Balotelli on Long which could have produced a second caution.
City began the second half on the offensive and Foster tipped over a 20-yard drive from Tevez.
Tamas blocked another fierce effort from Clichy after being teed up by the impressive Balotelli.
Albion were struggling to make any impression as an attacking force despite having the extra man.
Yaya Toure headed over from close range after Balotelli's miskick from a Richards ball into the danger area had fallen invitingly into his path.
City then appealed in van for a penalty after Fortune was yellow carded for handball but Clattenburg adjudged the offence took place just outside the box.
Balotelli was taken off after 64 minutes and replaced by Sergio Aguero as City continued to press for the breakthrough.
McAuley made a great block on a shot from Aguero but after 67 minutes Long stunned the visitors by putting Albion in front.
Substitute Peter Odemwingie looked like he was attempting a shot but the ball fell into the path of Long who steered it past Joe Hart.
City brought on Dzeko after 79 minutes and within a minute he had brought his side level with a header from a deep Tevez free-kick.
Hart made a superb save with a minute remaining to turn over an overhead kick from West Brom substitute Romelu Lukaku.
It proved decisive as with seconds remaining Dzeko steered home Aguero's perfectly weighted pass.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||8|
|8||Shots off Target||9|
|43.4||1st Half Poss.||56.6|
|44.2||2nd Half Poss.||55.8|
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||3||3|
|12||Queens Park Rangers||3||3|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||3||2|