Edin Dzeko scores twice as 10-man Man City beat Norwich 4-3
By Tom Malllows. Last Updated: December 30, 2012 9:05am
Edin Dzeko: At the double for Man City away at Norwich
Edin Dzeko scored twice as 10-man Manchester City held on for a 4-3 win over battling Norwich in a pulsating clash at Carrow Road.
Roberto Mancini's men raced into a two-goal lead within four minutes through Bosnian striker Dzeko before Anthony Pilkington's deflected free-kick halved the deficit.
A superb first half ended in controversy when Samir Nasri saw red for his angry reaction to a Sebastien Bassong tackle that saw the Norwich defender booked.
Best of the match
Man of the match: Edin Dzeko brushed off his 'super-sub' tag to put Man City in control within four minutes and have a big role in their vital fourth. Save of the match: Norwich Goalkeeper Mark Bunn had to be alert to smartly tip over a fizzing Sergio Aguero drive midway through the second half. Shot of the match: There were plenty, but Aguero was calmness personified as he coolly lobbed Bunn for Man City's third early in the second half. Moment of the match: It is hard to pick just one in a game such as this, but Norwich can count themselves a little unlucky when Dzeko's shot hit the post only to bounce back off the head of goalkeeper Bunn for a goal that would eventually prove to be the winner.
The champions extended their advantage once more five minutes into the second half through a cool finish from Aguero, only for Russell Martin to head home from close range just past the hour.
The visitors made it 4-2 just four minutes later when Dzeko's shot from the angle rebounded in off goalkeeper Mark Bunn before Martin's second goal 15 minutes from time ensured a nervy finish.
However, the champions held on for what could be a vital victory and condemned Norwich to a third successive league defeat.
City, who were looking to bounce back following a Boxing Day defeat at Sunderland, were ahead inside two minutes. Aguero and David Silva combining to set up an unmarked Dzeko to sweep home from six yards before Aguero presented Dzeko with a tap-in just two minutes later.
There was some brief respite for Norwich on 13 minutes when Kompany tripped Robert Snodgrass just outside the Manchester City penalty area. The Scotland international shaped to take the free-kick himself, but instead ran over the ball, as Pilkington drove in a low shot which deflected off Gael Clichy and past Joe Hart.
Things got ugly just before the break when Bassong upended Nasri on the far touchline. The duo squared up face-to-face, with Nasri pushing his head into the Norwich defender - which on consultation with the assistant referee resulted in a red card for the France midfielder, and a caution for Bassong.
City were soon back on the offensive following the restart and restored their two-goal cushion on 50 minutes. Toure delivered a perfectly-weighted angled ball which Bassong could not cut out and dropped into the path of Aguero who produced an exquisite chip to beat the advancing keeper and put City back in control.
It was 3-2 when Bassong's header back across the six-yard box from Snodgrass' clever centre was guided into the top right corner by Martin on 63 minutes. However, City quickly restored their advantage as Dzeko sprung the offside trap and burst into the Norwich penalty area, his shot beating Bunn at the near post, the ball bouncing off the woodwork, then the keeper's back and into the net.
A quite amazing match sparked into life once more with 15 minutes left when another Norwich corner caused panic in the City six-yard box and Martin swept the ball in again from point-blank range.
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Norwich v Man City
Anthony Pilkington has questioned whether Samir Nasri would have squared-off against Sebastien Bassong off the field.
Norwich boss Chris Hughton could not fault his side's application in the 4-3 defeat at home to Manchester City.
Chris Hughton was disappointed in his team's start but is encouraged with how Norwich have competed against the top Premier League sides.