Silva 29, G Jesus (pen) 36
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- 13 May 2017 15:07
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
City took another step towards Champions League qualification with a 2-1 win over last season's Premier League champions Leicester.
City started brightly, looking for an early goal to use as a platform for another sparkling home performance on the back of last week’s Crystal Palace demolition.
With just three minutes played, the Blues should have gone ahead when Leroy Sane’s corner found the head of Fernandinho but the Brazilian headed wide from six yards.
With no Robert Huth or Wes Morgan in the Foxes’ defence, it seemed City may test the makeshift central pairing of Yohan Benalouane and Christian Fuchs whenever possible.
Sane came close on 19 minutes when David Silva found him on the edge of the six-yard box but the young German miscued his shot and drove well wide.
Sane’s out swinging corners continued to cause problems for the visitors with the pace and accuracy resulting in several near-misses from Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany – sooner or later, it seemed, the Blues would profit.
Raheem Sterling wriggled into the box just before the half-hour mark but his cross was scrambled clear to Gael Clichy who opted to pass instead of shoot as the home crowd were demanding and the opportunity fizzled out.
In City’s next attack, however, the deadlock was finally broken.
Sane’s clever low cross into the middle found Silva who swept the ball past an unsighted Kasper Schmeichel, though the Foxes protested long and hard that Sterling had been in an offside position in front of the Danish goalkeeper.
Whether Leicester had a case or not mattered little because referee Robert Madley had already decided the goal should stand.
It was no more than City deserved, either after a half of almost total dominance – further emphasised five minutes later when the Blues doubled the lead from the penalty spot.
Sane slalomed towards goal only to be felled by Yohan Benalouane and Gabriel Jesus stepped up to send Schmeichel the wrong way.
The former Premier League champions had offered little or nothing of threat throughout the opening period so when they halved the deficit five minutes before the break, it was literally a bolt from the blue as Shinji Okazaki spectacularly volleyed home Marc Albrighton’s cross from 12 yards out.
The visitors went in at half-time punch drunk, but still in the game at 2-1.
Silva’s opening goal was obviously crucial, but TV replays suggested that it wouldn’t have been a total surprise if Sterling had been given offside.
The Blues fully merited being in front, but the decision to award the goal was the breakthrough City had needed and, let’s not forget there’s been contentious decisions that haven’t gone the Blues’ way this season so marginal or not, it was a welcome goal.
City Matchday App Star Man:
David Silva, with 41% of the vote!
What it means…
Another three points and City are now third - at least until Liverpool play West Ham on Sunday.
The gap to Arsenal who play Stoke on Saturday early evening, is up to six points for the time being.
City host West Bromwich Albion next Tuesday for the final home game of the campaign.
Then the Blues round off the campaign with a trip to Watford next Sunday.