Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Dzeko sends City three points clear

Edin Dzeko (second left)

Edin Dzeko's first-half header was enough to see Manchester City overcome basement boys Wigan 1-0 to go three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

It ended an 11-match goal drought for the Bosnian, who took his tally for the season to 14 as he steered David Silva's free-kick into the bottom corner.

It was enough to overcome a spirited Latics side, although the visitors did have chances to make life a little more comfortable against the basement boys, with Dzeko taking the best chance off the toe of Sergio Aguero.

Silva returned to the City side for this match at the DW Stadium and he had a couple of shots blocked, almost sent Aguero through and supplied the free-kick for Dzeko's goal.

Wigan failed to get close enough to Dzeko and as Gary Caldwell and Antolin Alcaraz floundered, Dzeko found the bottom corner with a precise header.

Aguero brought a fine one-handed save out of Ali Al Habsi as the opening period drew to a close and, despite the closeness of the scoreline, the suspicion remained that City would cruise clear after the restart.

Yet Wigan remained spirited opposition and with plenty of team-mates in support, James McArthur could have picked a better option than a long-range shot from an acute angle that fizzed disappointingly wide.

It was not long before City were back on the offensive, although how they had not increased their advantage by the hour mark was a bit of a mystery. First of all, Al Habsi made a magnificent double save to deny Dzeko and Silva, clawing the Bosnian's curling effort away from the top corner, then repelling the midfielder, who had aimed low from barely seven yards.

What followed next was infuriating for Aguero, who weaved his way past three Wigan defenders and seemed to have the simplest of tasks to find the net. Instead, Dzeko whipped the ball off his toe and went for goal himself. But his shot was so weak Al Habsi was able to make a comfortable save.

And Blues boss Roberto Mancini ended the game in animated conversation with the fourth official after Martin Atkinson's inexplicable failure to show Maynor Figueroa a red card for deliberate handball as he denied Aguero a clear run on goal two minutes from time.