City 1 Stoke City 0
February 22nd 47,013
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WH Smith and the City shop
This was another of those easy to forget games. Hughes brought a few buses to seal up the Stoke goal and with City lacking any real sparkle in the first half this game looked like being a goal-less draw and odds on to be the last item on Match-of-the Day! Luckily for City a strategy change - putting Toure further forward paid off. Having lost substitute Jovetic - on for off form Negredo - to an injury when he shot at goal there was little option but to bring on Garcia and push up Toure. Yaya was therefore in prime position when Kolarov put in a strong cross to get the ball over the line much to the relief of the City fans and players. Shortly afterwards Dzeko missed an absolute sitter which would have made the result safe. The back four managed to keep the occasional Stoke attack at bay Joe Hart having to make just one save all game. With a packed Stoke defence it was very difficult for City to break through and they only appeared to up their game after scoring. Hughes tried to put City off by telling his captain to win the toss and change ends! Its a long time since City had to kick off facing the South Stand.
Nasri was preferred to Navas on the right and Kolarov moved to left back while Demichelis remained as partner to Kompany. Negredo and Dzeko were the strikers. Still no Aguero.
Stoke had not filled their away allocation
In the first few minutes City almost scored when a cross...
...just went behind Dzeko.
A minute later and Begovic had to tip over a shot by Fernandinho
Ex- City manager Hughes surveys the scene
Zabaleta just having a shot blocked tries again
Hart saves from Charlie Adam
Hart punches away the corner
Referee Foy checks on Shawcross
The Stoke keeper saves from Toure
Fernandinho gets a yellow card and surely Mr Hughes is not asking the 4th official for more !
A few minutes later and Nasri goes down following a foul by Adam and another yellow card is given
Oh dear the secret sniper has struck again as the lone figure of Arnautovic lies prone while play goes on
Just before half time an effort by Dzeko just goes wide of the post
During the half time interval Sam's last chance to win a ticket to the Cup Final goes begging as he slips in his attempt to score!
Early in the second half a run by Silva and pass to Dzeko ends with the latter shooting well over the bar
After 55 minutes City win a free kick just outside the box for a foul on Silva but Toure's kick is blocked. I did not think the defenders were ten yards from the ball and they moved before the ball was kicked!
On 66 minutes a Jovetic shot is only parried by the keeper but there is nobody following up for City. Jovetic pulled a muscle when shooting so is subbed by Garcia
Three minutes later and the moment arrives! Kolarov puts in a great cross and Yaya Toure is there is prod the ball home
Yaya Toure runs to thank the goal maker!
A few minutes later and Yaya passes to Navas and his cross leaves Dzeko with the easiest of chances but he fails to score
...and the ball is cleared much to the dismay of the City fans
City fans gave a warm welcome to ex City player Stephen Ireland when he came on after 77 minutes
Hart makes a routine catch and all three points belong to City
Hart 7: Zabaleta 7, Kompany 7 Demichelis 7, Kolarov 7: Toure 7.5, Fernandinho 7 ( Navas 6.5) , Nasri 7.5, Silva 7, Negredo 5 ( Jovetic - Garcia) Dzeko 5