Three and easy for slick City

Three was the magic number for Manchester City, who went third in the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Stoke at Eastlands on Tuesday night.

Last Updated: 17/05/11 at 21:48 Post Comment

Tevez: At the double for City

Tevez: At the double for City

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Carlos Tevez drew level with Dimitar Berbatov in the battle for the Golden Boot as his magnificent brace left City on the brink of direct qualification for the Champions League.

The Blues captain lashed his side in front after beating two men inside the Stoke box, then curled home a superb free-kick to take his tally to 20, exactly the same as Berbatov, with one game of the season remaining.

More importantly for manager Roberto Mancini, it leaves his team knowing a victory at Bolton on Sunday will secure a straight passage through to the group stages of Europe's elite club competition, avoiding a hazardous qualification round in August when Bayern Munich and Villarreal had already been lined up as potential opponents.

Joleon Lescott also found the net with a simple header to complete a perfect week for City but rub salt into the Stoke wounds still gaping after that devastating FA Cup final defeat at Wembley on Saturday, which ended the Blues' 35-year wait for a trophy.

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.

Yet City too struggled to find any fluency, as if all their energy had been left in London despite the enormity of the prize on offer.

James Milner did race onto an excellent pass from Tevez, which the South American flicked over his shoulder, but his volley was woefully wide, the quizzical looks at the referee which followed done more to save his own embarrassment.

Tevez decided it was time to get involved himself.

Given the uncertainty over his future, this could yet turn out to be the 26-year-old's final game at Eastlands.

If so, he marked the occasion in style.

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

It was further proof that if Tevez does decide to move elsewhere, he will leave a king-size hole in Mancini's City squad that money alone will not necessarily be able to fill, no matter what status the world's richest club enjoy.

City toyed with their visitors after that.

Milner and Toure both launched speculative efforts towards the visitors' goal without looking like adding to City's lead and Stoke's only response was an equally unlikely strike by Glenn Whelan that Joe Hart dealt with easily.

Tony Pulis at least galvanised his team into action at the start of the second period.

But all hope was lost once City had gained a rather fortunate free-kick for a Danny Collins foul on Micah Richards.

Lescott evaded all attention, got in front of 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.

Watching from the stands, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez could only hope Stoke will be in similarly lethargic mood at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday when they face that heart-stopping five-team battle for survival.

Substitute Edin Dzeko should have doubled his tally of Premier League goals instead of drilling a shot straight at Sorensen after muscling his way into the penalty area.

The difference between Dzeko and Tevez is clearly not just limited to size alone.

When Whelan brought down Nigel de Jong, the City skipper let fly with a quite magnificent curling free-kick that gave Sorensen no chance as it flew right into the top corner.

Dzeko struck the outside of a post from an acute angle, which again just highlighted how much City rely on Tevez.

A mad dash out of his goal to clear, and an equally frantic scramble back again ensured Hart's goal remained in tact, which confirmed another clean sheet and the Golden Glove prize.

But the highest goalscorer is the award that carries greater prestige, and Tevez would have gone in front had he not clipped yet another free-kick narrowly over in the latter stages.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 15 September 2014
20:00
Hull City 2-2 West Ham Report
Sunday, 14 September 2014
16:00
Man Utd 4-0 QPR Report
Saturday, 13 September 2014
17:30
Liverpool 0-1 A Villa Report
15:00
Chelsea 4-2 Swansea Report
C Palace 0-0 Burnley Report
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle Report
Stoke 0-1 Leicester Report
Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham Report
West Brom 0-2 Everton Report
12:45
Arsenal 2-2 Man City Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 4 9 12
2 A Villa 4 3 10
3 Swansea 4 3 9
4 Southampton 4 5 7
5 Man City 4 3 7
6 Tottenham 4 2 7
7 Arsenal 4 1 6
8 Liverpool 4 1 6
9 Man Utd 4 3 5
10 Hull City 4 0 5
11 Everton 4 -1 5
12 Leicester 4 -1 5
13 West Ham 4 -1 4
14 Stoke 4 -1 4
15 Sunderland 4 -1 3
16 QPR 4 -8 3
17 C Palace 4 -3 2
18 Burnley 4 -3 2
19 West Brom 4 -5 2
20 Newcastle 4 -6 2

Updated Wed, 17 Sep 2014

Footer 365

Champions League review: Big wins for Roma and Porto, Barca edge to victory

Roma and Porto earned big wins in the Champions League, while Barcelona opened their campaign with a narrow victory.

Chelsea: Jose Mourinho reveals fitness worry over Diego Costa

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Diego Costa is not yet ready to start more than one match in a week.

Champions League: Jose Mourinho rues missed chances in Schalke draw

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Chelsea's failure to kill off Schalke with a second goal before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's equaliser.

Mail Box

I've Given It Some Thought: He's Got To Go

There is some more considered reaction to Arsenal and Liverpool's results, plus a big get well soon message for Jonas Gutierrez. And an apology to Merse...

B**locks To That, I'm Going To Sit In The Shed

Arsenal supporters given their understandable reaction to the debacle in Dortmund, whilst Liverpool fans weren't too impressed either. Still, at least they won...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property