Manchester City leave it late to see off Swansea in dramatic finish
Kelechi Iheanacho claimed a stoppage-time winner as title favourites Manchester City snatched a dramatic 2-1 victory over managerless Swansea in a frantic finish at the Etihad Stadium.
Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis looked to have salvaged a point for the hard-working Swans with a ferocious strike in the 89th minute but they were deflated when Yaya Toure's last-gasp effort caught Iheanacho and looped in.
Prior to the breathless ending it had been a drab Barclays Premier League contest in pouring rain, with Wilfried Bony's 26th-minute header against his former club looking like it would separate the two sides.
Not for the first time it had seemed a case of City struggling to find top gear after European exertions with Raheem Sterling, the hero of the midweek win over Borussia Monchengladbach, one of the disappointments.
Swansea, who sacked manager Garry Monk in midweek, were excellent in the second half and were it not for the outstanding Joe Hart they may have equalised earlier.
Caretaker boss Alan Curtis and the rest of the bench leapt to their feet as Gomis finally broke through but they were quickly brought back to earth.
City, having named Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, were sluggish throughout even though they controlled the majority of possession.
Their defensive vulnerabilities in the continued absence of captain Vincent Kompany were also exposed again after just five minutes as Wayne Routledge broke through the middle and should have scored. Hart came to City's rescue, blocking with his feet.
It took City 14 minutes to muster an attempt on goal and Bony's tame shot was easily dealt with by Lukasz Fabianski.
A quick Swansea counter-attack saw the visitors create another chance but Hart palmed the impressive Gylfi Sigurdsson's effort over.
Jesus Navas went close at the other end midway through the half as he cut inside to shoot on his left foot. His strike was deflected wide but he picked out an unmarked Bony with his cross from the resulting corner and the Ivorian powered in a header.
It was the fourth time in succession he had scored in this fixture, with two appearances for each club, but he chose not to celebrate, instead pointing to the rain-filled sky.
Swansea might have had a quick reply as Andre Ayew headed over but the first half meandered to a close with only Toure, with a weak shot, threatening again.
Swansea made a lively start to the second period and Sigurdsson was thwarted in front of goal by both Eliaquim Mangala and Hart.
Toure tested Fabianksi from a set-piece before Sigurdsson drew another save from Hart from a free-kick awarded after Bacary Sagna caught Routledge in the head with a high foot.
City, having already sent on Fabian Delph for Sterling at half-time, withdrew David Silva after 68 minutes in the hope De Bruyne could spark them into life.
The Belgian immediately whipped in a dangerous corner but Nicolas Otamendi failed to make clean contact with his header. Delph also threatened with an effort that curled wide.
Still City looked clumsy at the back and Mangala was booked for a poor challenge on substitute Mo Barrow and Sigurdsson had a goal disallowed for a foul by Gomis on Hart.
City were caught out as Gomis broke through the middle and unleashed a fierce drive which Hart had no chance of keeping out with 89 minutes on the clock.
But joy quickly turned to despair for the Swans as Toure found space out on the right and his curling shot took a deflection off Iheanacho and dropped over Fabianksi's head.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Toure has spoiled things. 2-1" - Gary Lineker has a ligh-hearted view on Yaya Toure's stoppage-time winner as the Ivorian "spoiled" the binary of Premier League results.
Joe Hart: 9 (Out of 10)
Bacary Sagna: 6
Eliaquim Mangala: 7
Nicolas Otamendi: 7
Gael Clichy: 6
Yaya Toure: 9
Jesus Navas: 7
David Silva: 7
Raheem Sterling: 5
Wilfried Bony: 6
Fabian Delph: 7
Kevin De Bruyne: 7
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6
Lukasz Fabianski: 7
Angel Rangel: 6
Federico Fernandez: 7
Ashley Williams: 7
Neil Taylor: 6
Jack Cork: 7
Leon Britton: 7
Ki Sung-yeung: 6
Glyfi Sigurdsson: 9
Wayne Routledge: 7
Andre Ayew: 7
Jefferson Montero: 6
Mo Barrow: 7
Bafetimbi Gomis: 7
Yaya Toure: Toure may not be the force of old but this was still a highly influential display. He gave City drive and direction in a difficult game and had a couple of chances as he got forward. He pushed on to the end and got reward by forcing the last-gasp winner.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Bafetimbi Gomis: It was such a shame for Swansea that Gomis' late strike ultimately counted for nothing in terms of this game. Swansea celebrated it with exuberance and all of the bench were on their feet and running towards the pitch. The joy quickly turned sour but it was a great moment nevertheless and underlined the spirit that still exists within the side and Monk somehow failed to energise.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Manuel Pellegrini has been here before, with his multi-talented side failing to fire against after playing in the Champions League in midweek. But they dug deep and claimed a crucial victory and Pellegrini will be pleased with their resilience. Swansea will take positives from their spirited display. Caretaker boss Alan Curtis set them up well and the players responded. Swansea are not likely to be short of applicants for the chance to manage this team.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Despite fielding a £74million centre-back partnership of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, City again failed to keep a clean sheet without Vincent Kompany. City have kept seven clean sheets in the eight Premier League games the Belgian has played this season. They have not kept one in the eight he has missed.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Arsenal v Manchester City (Barclays Premier League, Saturday 19 December)
Swansea v West Ham (Barclays Premier League, Saturday 19 December)