London - Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero helped Manchester City keep the pressure
on Premier League leaders Chelsea with late goals in a 2-0 victory over
Aston Villa on Saturday.
City had been frustrated for large parts
of the game as a combination of poor finishing and an organised Villa
back-line kept them at bay.
But the deadlock at Villa Park was
eventually broken in the 82nd minute when Toure scored from the edge of
the box and six minutes later Aguero made the points certain with a
Villa manager Paul Lambert initially made one
change from the side that had lost 3-0 at Chelsea, as Charles N'Zogbia
came in for Andreas Weimann.
However, Gabriel Agbonlahor injured himself in the warm-up, so Weimann was restored to the starting line-up in his place.
also included Belgium striker Christian Benteke in their squad for the
first since he ruptured his Achilles tendon at the start of April.
manager Manuel Pellegrini made three changes from his side's mid-week
1-1 draw with Roma in the Champions League, with James Milner,
Aleksandar Kolarov and Eliaquim Mangala coming in.
the early possession and struck the post in the 10th minute after
Kolarov's angled shot took a deflection off Alan Hutton.
were organised, though, packing bodies behind the ball and frustrating
City, with Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood industrious in front of
Villa's back four.
Nathan Baker was almost punished in the 20th
minute when he miscontrolled the ball on the edge of the penalty area,
but he recovered to dispossess Aguero just as he was about to shoot.
later David Silva slipped in Ageuro, but Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan
rushed off his line and gathered at the feet of the Argentina striker.
provided the focal point for City's attacking play and on the half-hour
he stole in front of Baker to get on the end of Kolarov's pinpoint
cross from the left, only to watch his header flash narrowly wide.
were not without their moments. Weimann intercepted a sloppy pass from
Pablo Zabaleta just outside the 18-yard box, but was crowded out by City
centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Mangala and scuffed his shot.
stepped it up a gear just before half-time as James Milner rippled the
side-netting with an angled shot, while Aly Cissokho cleared Edin
Dzeko's goal-bound header off the line from a corner.
had clear goal-scoring chances immediately after the interval as first
Milner freed Aguero, whose low effort beat the dive of Guzan but
rebounded back off the post.
Villa immediately hit City on the
counter-attack, with Kieran Richardson outpacing Zabaleta, but visiting
goalkeeper Joe Hart narrowed the angle to block his shot.
were dealt a blow when midfielder Fernandinho limped out through injury
to be replaced by Frank Lampard, while Villa Park stood to its feet to
welcome Benteke onto the pitch as he came on for Weimann on the hour.
opened the Villa defence up shortly after with a jinking run, but he
could only produce a tame finish that Guzan comfortably saved.
City continued to be the dominant side and Guzan did well to save shots from Silva, Aguero and a powerful header from Mangala.
the breakthrough eventually arrived from Toure with eight minutes left
when Villa defenders Alan Hutton and Philippe Senderos were punished for
Toure received the ball from substitute Fernando and
with space in front of him to shoot, he stroked the ball into the net
past the despairing dive of Guzan.
City ensured there would be no
late drama shortly after when Aguero received the ball from Milner on
the edge of the box and powerfully fired a shot past Guzan.