Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Man City 3 Newcastle 1

Manchester City proved their ability to succeed without David Silva by ending Newcastle United’s unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Two goals in four minutes in the closing stages of the first-half from Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards and second-half penalty from Sergio Aguero, who later limped off with an ankle injury, saw City consolidate their lead at the top of the Premier League before Dan Gosling’s late consolation for Newcastle.

But Newcastle, whose impressive start to the campaign saw them start the day in third position, arguably gave City their toughest test of the season so far in a performance that suggests Alan Pardew’s team are capable of lasting the course in the race for a European spot this term.

Until Balotelli opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 41 minutes with his eighth goal in nine games, Newcastle looked as though they had the game-plan to frustrate City and end their flawless home record.

With manager Roberto Mancini resting the mercurial Silva ahead of Tuesday’s decisive Champions League clash against Napoli in Italy, City struggled to break down Newcastle’s well-organised defensive formation in the early stages.

Aguero saw a 20-yard strike fly narrowly over the crossbar and Balotelli had a header well-saved by Tim Krul before Demba Ba missed two good chances for the visitors.

Ryan Taylor’s clear handball from Yaya Toure’s close range shot gave referee Chris Foy no option but award City a penalty and Balotelli coolly placed the ball to the left of Krul to make it 1-0.

It was harsh on Newcastle, but worse was to follow and Taylor was the culprit again as Richards pounced on his mistake to double City’s lead.

Former Wigan defender Taylor should have cleared Samir Nasri’s throughball, but he clumsily mis-controlled, allowing Richards to steal the ball before sending a left-foot strike past Krul.

There may have been another 45 minutes to go, but in reality, there was no way back for Newcastle.

Hatem Ben Arfa, starting his first Premier League game since Nigel de Jong broke his leg with a late tackle in the same fixture 13 months ago, nearly pulled one back for Newcastle when he struck the post after waltzing past De Jong and Vincent Kompany on 60 minutes.

Danny Guthrie then forced an important save from Joe Hart before City banished any doubts about their grip on the game by scoring a third following another penalty.

On this occasion, Ben Arfa bundled Richards over inside the 18-yard box to concede the spot-kick, which Aguero scored on 71 minutes.

That proved to be Aguero’s final contribution, however, before limping off with an ankle knock that leaves him doubtful for the trip to Naples.

As the game drifted to a close, Gosling pulled one back for Newcastle when Hart collided with Ba, leaving the former Everton midfield to score into an empty net from six yards.

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