Manchester City kept up their relentless pursuit of the Premier League title by defeating Newcastle United, 2-0, in a frantic game at St. James' Park courtesy of an early Edin Dzeko goal before Alvaro Negredo added another late on. They were fortunate to see a Cheick Tiote effort wrongly disallowed, but also lost Samir Nasri to a bad injury during the match.
Dzeko's tap-in put City ahead early on, but the hosts appeared to equalise with a long-range Tiote stunner. Mike Jones, however, disagreed, much to the chagrin of the home fans, and although Newcastle had several chances thereafter, Joe Hart was in fine form to keep a clean sheet for his side. Negredo then sprung a counter-attack to make the score 2-0 in the dying minutes.
Newcastle got off to a surprisingly lethargic start to the game, and City took full advantage to put themselves ahead after eight minutes. Aleksandar Kolarov was too quick for the City defence in getting down the left wing, and a poor defensive line left Mike Williamson unable to keep up with Dzeko, who got ahead of him to turn the cross in with a powerful finish into the roof of the net.
Newcastle then woke up slightly, and after a midfield battle began to exert some pressure on the City goal. Steven Taylor went close from a Newcastle corner, and the home fans were hopeful for a breakthrough. They wouldn't like what was to come.
Newcastle found their equaliser courtesy of Tiote, who arrowed a brilliant 30-yard effort into the corner of the net, but referee Mike Jones went over to consult with his linesman and ruled the goal out. Replays showed that three Newcastle players, notable Yoann Gouffran, were standing offside, but none touched the ball or obscured Joe Hart's line of sight. As might be expected, Alan Pardew and the St. James' Park faithful were absolutely furious.
That was the last significant action of the first half, before Pardew raced to the tunnel to engage in aggro with the referee. City started the second half stronger than Newcastle. Negredo was looking dangerous, and almost scored after evading Taylor to go close with a header. Newcastle once again grew into the half, however.
With Yohan Cabaye on the team, Newcastle don't need clear-cut chances to score. He twice brought fine saves out of Joe Hart with efforts from outside the area. Loic Remy then took advantage of a positional blunder by Vincent Kompany to find himself one-on-one, but he went for power rather than placement and his shot was saved by Hart.
There was then a lengthy stoppage after a poor tackle from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa on Samir Nasri left the latter needing to be stretchered off with what appeared to be a severe injury. James Milner came on in his stead. Nasri took a long time to move. While the prospect of a lengthy injury-time was imminent, City almost struck a sucker-punch to seal the points when David Silva burst into space and squared it for the completely unmarked Negredo. Tim Krul came flying off his line to deny Negredo, but the Dutch keeper was evaded. the eventual shot was cleared off the line by Steven Taylor to keep Newcastle alive.
Newcastle spent the final seven minutes launching long balls into the City area with their centre-backs pushed up. Taylor came close twice, but eventual Newcastle were caught by Negredo springing away into a one-on-one with Krul. Again the Dutchman charged out, and again it worked as the Spaniard's shot was struck into his body, but the rebound fell kindly for the striker and he was able to roll it into an empty net to wrap up the victory.
Newcastle: Krul, Santon, Steven Taylor, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa (Haidara 82'), Anita (Cisse 73'), Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 82').
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Nasri (Milner 79'), Fernandinho, Toure (Garcia 61'), Silva, Negredo, Dzeko (Navas 52').
Goals: Dzeko 8'