Tevez returns in City win
After six months in disgrace, Carlos Tevez returned a hero as he helped inspire a triumphant Manchester City comeback as they defeated Chelsea 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
With City trailing to Gary Cahill's deflected opener, and their title hopes about to suffer a potentially fatal blow, Tevez was given 24 minutes to do something about it. And the controversial South American answered the call.
First Tevez began the move that ended with Sergio Aguero equalising from the penalty spot. Then, five minutes from time, he created the opening which allowed Samir Nasri to grab a precious three points.
It was City's 20th Premier League home win on the trot, a new record. Far more importantly, it cut Manchester United's lead at the top to a single point.
The importance of victory for the hosts could hardly be understated and they tore into their opponents from the first whistle. Pablo Zabaleta had a shot deflected wide and David Silva scooped another over before Nasri lifted a first-time shot over Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, only to see it come back off the crossbar.
Frank Lampard was not thinking as he rolled a pass along the halfway line and Mario Balotelli seized possession and raced forward to leave the Chelsea defence streaming back in his wake. However, Cech stayed tall and made the young Italian decide which way to go. Balotelli went left and Cech dived to push it round for a corner.
It was only a matter of time before the opener arrived but no-one expected Chelsea to get it. City felt David Luiz shoved Gareth Barry but referee Mike Dean ignored the protests, which allowed the ball to run on for Cahill. His shot would have been saved by Joe Hart without the massive deflection off Yaya Toure that left the City keeper totally stranded.
That was the trigger for the arrival of Tevez. It was his pass to fellow substitute Edin Dzeko that earned the corner from which Michael Essien handled Zabaleta's shot. Aguero is now City's number one Argentinian penalty taker and he coolly sent Cech the wrong way.
But Tevez was not finished. With five minutes left, he collected Nasri's pass on the edge of the area, turned and nicked the ball through to his team-mate, who had continued his burst into the box.
This time Nasri found the finish too, cheekily nicking the ball over the advancing Cech to send the stadium into uproar and breathe fresh life into City's championship challenge.