Edin Dzeko came off the bench late and scored twice, rescuing the full three points for a 10-man Manchester City over West Brom at the Hawthornes. The Baggies appeared to have the match in hand after Shane Long scored with 20 minutes left, but City did what champions often do and found a way to win despite the adversity.
City dominated the first 23 minutes of the match but couldn't score. The 23rd minute is important because that's the moment that James Milner was sent off by referee Mark Clattenburg after a bad tackle by Milner on Shane Long. The tackle itself wasn't the problem though as Milner was the last defender and denied a clear scoring chance for Long. Roberto Mancini protested of course but replays showed it was close, but the right call.
The entire first half was rather rambunctious to say the least, with four yellow cards being shown in addition to Milner's red. Mario Balotelli received one of those yellow cards and probably should have been shown a second for a rather clumsy tackle late in the half.
It's likely not complementary to West Brom to say that City looked basically unaffected by only having 10 men on the pitch...but it was true. Of course the difference was that the pressure City was able put on the Baggies was likely significantly less that what they would have if Milner wasn't in the locker room. It also helped that City were less than lethal on the chances they did create.
Despite all that, it was West Brom who got on the scoreboard first in the 68th minute. Peter Odemwingie played a perfect pass to Shane Long who split the City defense with a perfectly timed run and tapped the ball past Joe Hart. City players appealed for an offside call, but the replay showed Long was onside on the play.
West Brom couldn't hold the lead though, allowing City to equalize in the 80th minute. Zoltán Gera took out Gaël Clichy on the left wing, setting up a free kick chance for City. Carlos Tévez sent a great ball in to the box that found Edin Dzeko who out leaped two defenders and headed the ball in to the open net. Goalkeeper Ben Foster had come off his line in an attempt to punch the ball out, but he missed completely and left his net wide open for Dzeko's header. Poor defending all around from West Brom.
West Brom's Romelu Lukaku had two point blank chances to put West Brom in front, heading his first chance right at Joe Hart and forcing a fantastic save from the goalkeeper on a bicycle kick from just beyond the penalty spot. The save gave West Brom a corner that led directly to a break for City that the champions did not waste.
Sergio Aguero made a perfect cross pitch pass to a charging Dzeko who blasted a shot by Foster to give City the stoppage time winner.