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Tevez bags brace in Stoke defeat


Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez scored twice to put Manchester City in pole position for an automatic place in next season's Champions League as they recorded a 3-0 victory over Stoke.

Tevez's double means a win for City at Bolton on Sunday will secure a third-place finish and ensure the Blues avoid a hazardous qualification clash in August.

The South American also moved level with Dimitar Berbatov in the race for the Golden Boot prize. Joleon Lescott also found the target for City, who have enjoyed a brilliant week after winning the FA Cup.

Stoke's capacity to raise their spirits for this game, just three days after suffering the crushing weekend disappointment had to be called into question.

Buoyed by their success at the weekend, City flew out of the blocks and took the lead in the 14th minute through Tevez.

Collecting James Milner's return pass just inside the Stoke box, the Argentinian nimbly stepped past Ryan Shawcross and Andy Wilkinson, two of the six men who retained their places from the weekend for the visitors, before cutting a superb shot into the far corner.

Stoke tried valiantly to get back into the encounter but all hope was lost once City had gained a rather fortunate free-kick in the 53rd minute for a Danny Collins foul on Micah Richards.

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Lescott evaded all attention, got in front of Thomas Sorensen as he jumped for Adam Johnson's free-kick and had the easiest of tasks to nod home his second goal of the season.

Tevez then rounded off a thoroughly impressive evening by letting fly with a quite magnificent curling free-kick that gave Sorensen no chance.

Tevez would have gone in front in the race to win the prestigious highest goalscorer award had he not clipped a free-kick narrowly over in the latter stages.

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