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Reduced City keep title charge alive

City’s defense held firm and Silva set up Dzeko for the second in the 90th minute.

Hull |
Updated: March 18, 2014 10:38:44 am

Manchester City overcame the early sending-off of captain Vincent Kompany to beat Hull 2-0 thanks to goals by David Silva and Edin Dzeko on Saturday, keeping the team in touch with Premier League leader Chelsea. Silva curled home the opening goal in the 14th minute, just as City was reorganizing following a straight red card to Kompany in the 10th.

City’s defense held firm and Silva set up Dzeko for the second in the 90th minute. Manuel Pellegrini’s team reduced the gap to Chelsea to six points with two games in hand. Chelsea plays later Saturday at Aston Villa. City was playing three days after losing to Barcelona, so the last thing the visitors needed was to be reduced to 10 men early on.

Pellegrini reacted by dropping holding midfielder Javi Garcia back into defense alongside Martin Demichelis but the changes had no adverse effect, with City going ahead four minutes later. Yaya Toure slipped a short ball through to Silva, who curled a brilliant shot inside the post from 25 yards.

Pablo Zabaleta almost doubled the lead when he sent a dipping volley against the underside of the bar in the 31st minute. From then on, it was mostly Hull on the attack, without seriously testing City goalkeeper Joe Hart. David Meyler had a goal disallowed for offside, Jake Livermore shot just wide from 20 meters and, just after the break, Jelavic didn’t get enough purchase on a free kick as Hart easily saved.

Fernandinho spurned a great chance for the City in the 72nd when he ran onto Silva’s deflected shot, but all alone in the penalty box, he screwed a left-footed shot wide. Minutes earlier, Hart escaped a red card after motioning his head toward George Boyd after the Hull midfielder tumbled under a challenge by the goalkeeper. Hart was booked. Dzeko, playing on his own up front in the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero, grabbed his first goal in nine games in all competitions with a fierce left-foot shot with seconds left.

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