City beats Newcastle 2-0 amid controversy
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Edin Dzeko’s first half goal and Alvaro Negredo’s tap-in during added time gave Manchester City a 2-0 win at Newcastle as the Blues moved provisionally top of the Premier League following a tense game marred by a controversial decision on Sunday.
Dzeko scored after eight minutes before Cheikh Tiote appeared to put Newcastle back in the game with a powerful strike. Referee Mike Jones consulted the assistant and ruled that Yoan Gouffran interfered with play in an offside position.
Negredo secured City’s win in added time from the rebound after Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul saved his initial attempt.
City won its third straight away game to climb above Chelsea in the standings ahead of Arsenal’s match at Aston Villa on Monday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team has now won six consecutive league matches and scored a total of 94 goals in all competition, more than its entire tally for last season.
Utilizing its usual combination of quick passing and movement, City moved in front as David Silva released Aleksandar Kolarov on the left side before the Serbia defender sent a low cross for Dzeko to fire it into the back of the net for his fifth league goal of the season.
Kolarov troubled Newcastle defenders throughout the afternoon and provided another precise pass at the back post four minutes later but the outstretched Negredo could not latch onto the ball.
City’s well organized midfielders were caught off guards moments later when Yohan Cabaye stole the ball and picked out forward Loic Remy, with the France striker being flagged offside.
Tiote delighted home fans at St James’ Park when he fired a stunning shot into the top corner in the 34th minute, only for the referee to cancel the goal, judging that Gouffran, standing in front of Joe Hart in an offside position, was interfering with play. A dejected Alan Pardew shook his head in disbelief while Newcastle fans booed the decision and started to sing “1-0 to the referee.”
Pardew confronted Pellegrini after the incident, with the Newcastle manager apparently aiming an expletive-laced tirade at his counterpart.
“I apologize for that,” Pardew said later. “But he had words with me first and it was just normal for managers that go unseen most of the time. We’re fine, I shook his hand at the end and I’ll see him before I go.”
Spurred on by the perceived injustice and its fans’ cheers, Newcastle then enjoyed a good spell of play but could not create more real chances before halftime.
Pardew’s team went back on the pitch still looking for revenge as Vurnon Anita forced Hart into a good save with a shot through a crowd of legs in the 48th minute before Remy got caught by the City defense on the edge of the box.
Krul kept his team’s hopes alive as he stopped Negredo’s header from close range with a reflex save moments before his City counterpart dived to parry away Yohan Cabaye’s powerful shot round the post. The England goalkeeper was again decisive 20 minutes from time as he won a one on one against Remy with a superb save from the striker’s low shot.
City was handed a blow 15 minutes from time when France midfielder Samir Nasri had to be replaced by James Milner and carried away in tears on a stretcher after being fouled by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was lucky enough to escape with a yellow card.
“Nasri has I think a serious injury to his knee, we will see tomorrow. I repeat it was a direct red card,” Pellegrini said. “It’s his medial ligament. We will see tomorrow what has happened with him.”
Negredo then put the game to bed after being sent clear by Milner. Krul did well to save his first shot at goal but “The Beast” was lucky to see the ball ricochet off the ’keeper and he shot into an empty goal.