Belfast Telegraph

Toure brace puts City on brink

Yaya Toure blasted Manchester City to within touching distance of the Barclays Premier League title with a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Newcastle.

The Ivory Coast international struck twice in the final 20 minutes of a pulsating contest to secure three precious points and send City into next Sunday's final-day clash with QPR in pole position to claim their first title in 44 years.

City's last triumph in 1968 came courtesy of a 4-3 win at St James' Park, and Sunday's victory could prove almost as pivotal.

Magpies striker Demba Ba, without a goal in 12 games, sent a 29th-minute shot on the turn just over after Hatem Ben Arfa's spring-heeled run down the right and then saw another snapshot blocked by Gael Clichy, before Ben Arfa forced a superb diving save from Joe Hart from the rebound.

However, it took heroic blocks from first Fabricio Coloccini and then Davide Santon to keep out Gareth Barry four minutes before the break.

Roberto Mancini decided the time for a change had arrived and with 62 minutes gone replaced Samir Nasri with Nigel de Jong, allowing Toure to push further forward.

Seconds after Edin Dzeko had replaced Carlos Tevez, Toure exchanged passes with Sergio Aguero 25 yards out and guided a curling right-foot shot past Tim Krul and into the bottom corner.

It should have been all over within five minutes when David Silva played in Aguero over the top, but with just Krul to beat, he side-footed wide.

Toure should have made sure six minutes from time, but fell over as he attempted to round Krul, who managed to touch over Aguero's follow-up.

But the powerhouse midfielder wrapped up the points with a minute remaining when he accepted Clichy's pass six yards out and beat Krul to end Newcastle's hopes of a fightback.

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