Defending champion Manchester City beat Chelsea 2-0 to get its first Premier League soccer win in a month and stay within 12 points of leader Manchester United. Newcastle defeated Southampton 4-2.
Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez got second-half goals for City at Etihad Stadium yesterday after Frank Lampard, seeking his 200th goal for Chelsea, had his penalty kick saved by Joe Hart. United won 2-0 at last-place Queens Park Rangers two days ago to move to 68 points atop the standings with 11 games left.
“For us now it is not important to look at the table,” City manager Roberto Mancini told reporters. “Only to continue to work like today, to play well, to improve and to look at the table in one month, 40 days. In football, it is finished when it is finished, the last minute of the last game.”
City beat United to the championship on the last day of the 2011-12 season with two stoppage-time goals against QPR.
Yesterday, City had Chelsea under pressure in the first half and Petr Cech had to save from Matija Nastasic. Jack Rodwell was also prominent for the home team.
Chelsea had a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Hart brought down Demba Ba, although he wasn’t shown a card by referee Andre Marriner. Hart dived low to his right to save Lampard’s spot kick.
Sergio Aguero then dinked the ball over Cech only for his effort go just over the crossbar. Toure got the breakthrough in the 63rd minute, taking the ball into the penalty area before placing it right-footed past Cech and inside the far post.
Substitute Tevez sealed City’s first league victory since Jan. 19 in the 85th minute, slamming the ball past Cech from outside the area.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez, who started with John Terry and Fernando Torres on the bench, said the penalty was the turning point and that Hart should have been shown at least a yellow card.
“It was a crucial moment,” said Benitez, whose team has a one-point lead over fourth-place Tottenham. “I haven’t seen the replay, but at least yellow card. You can argue he is going in this direction but it is still a clear chance.”
Chelsea, which has 49 points in third place, could drop down one spot if fourth-place Tottenham beats West Ham today.
Newcastle climbed up to 14th after beating Southampton at St James’ Park. First-half goals by Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse, a Yohan Cabaye penalty and an own goal by Jos Hooiveld secured the Magpies’ victory. Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert got Southampton’s goals.
At the bottom of the standings, QPR has 17 points, with Reading on 23 and Aston Villa 24 in the other two relegation places. Wigan also has 24 points and Southampton 27.
Two days ago, Arsenal beat Villa 2-1 and Norwich defeated Everton by the same score. Fulham had a 1-0 win against Stoke, Wigan won 3-0 at Reading and Sunderland lost 2-1 at West Brom.