Fulham 2 Manchester City 4

City soar to second despite Kompany’s own-goal as late strikes from Navas and Milner see off hosts

Substitutes Jesus Navas and James Milner spared Vincent Kompany’s blushes as Manchester City held off a Fulham fightback to win 4-2 at Craven Cottage.

After Kompany had spectacularly put into his own net to level the scores with 20 minutes remaining, Navas and Milner struck as City lifted their game to claim just a third Premier League away win this season.

A week ago, after beating Arsenal 6-3 at home, City were being lauded as title favourites, but their Jekyll and Hyde nature at home and away continued.

Both the good and bad of City were in evidence against a Cottagers side fighting for their top-flight status.

 

MATCH FACTS

Premier League badges

Fulham: Stekelenburg 5; Riether 6, Senderos 5 (Amorebieta 37, 5), Hughes 6, Riise 6; Karagounis 7 (Bent 82), Parker 7, Sidwell 6; Richardson 6, Dejagah 7 (Kasami 65); Taarabt 6.

Subs not used: Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Stockdale, Duff.

Goals: Richardson 50, Kompany (og) 69.

Booked: Karagounis.

Premier League badges

Man City: Hart 6; Clichy 6, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Kolarov 6; Nasri 7 (Milner 75), Fernandinho 7, Toure 8, Silva 7 (Garcia 84); Dzeko 6 (Navas 58, 7), Negredo 7.

Subs not used: Javi Garcia, Rodwell, Pantilimon, Boyata, Guidetti.

Goals: Toure 23, Kompany 43, Navas 78, Milner 83.

Booked: Demichelis.

Referee: Kevin Friend.

 

Restored England goalkeeper Joe Hart – making his first Premier League appearance since the October 27 loss at Chelsea – dealt comfortably with everything Fulham, and Adel Taarabt, in particular, threw at him in the first half and City were clinical at the other end.

After David Silva hit the bar, Yaya Toure netted his ninth goal of the season with a stunning free-kick and Kompany added a second two minutes before the interval.

City were cruising, until Fulham pulled a goal back with a devastating counter-attack converted by Kieran Richardson and then the scores were levelled when Kompany spectacularly sliced a Sascha Riether cross into his own net.

Navas and Milner ensured their captain’s embarrassment would not linger and that City would enter the Boxing Day clash with form side Liverpool with momentum.

Hart displaced Costel Pantilimon in the Premier League line-up to keep his place following the midweek Capital One Cup win at Leicester, with Gael Clichy starting at right-back.

Dimitar Berbatov was absent for Fulham and Alex Kacaniklic on the bench in a side showing two changes following the loss at Everton, with Taarabt and Richardson brought in.

Fulham, with Clint Dempsey watching on amid talk of a return next month, made a lively start but needed a City error to first test Hart.

A Clichy slip on a surface made greasy by incessant rain allowed Richardson to go by him down the Fulham left and he fed the ball inside for Taarabt, whose shot through Clichy’s legs was saved.

Ahead: Yaya Toure's sublime free-kick gave Manchester City the lead in the first half
Ahead: Yaya Toure’s sublime free-kick gave Manchester City the lead in the first half
Climb: Toure's free-kick in the 22nd minute had City on course to move up to second in the table
Climb: Toure’s free-kick in the 22nd minute had City on course to move up to second in the table

 

Season at glance

  • Team P GD Pts
    1 Liverpool 17 23 36
    2 Manchester City 17 31 35
    3 Arsenal 16 16 35
    4 Chelsea 16 14 33
    5 Everton 16 12 31
    6 Newcastle United 17 2 30
    7 Manchester United 17 8 28
    8 Tottenham Hotspur 16 -6 27
    9 Southampton 16 5 24
    10 Stoke City 17 -4 21
    11 Swansea City 16 1 20
    12 Hull City 17 -6 20
    13 Aston Villa 17 -6 19
    14 Norwich City 17 -14 19
    15 Cardiff City 17 -12 17
    16 West Bromwich Albion 17 -5 16
    17 West Ham United 17 -8 14
    18 Crystal Palace 17 -16 13
    19 Fulham 17 -17 13
    20 Sunderland 17 -18 10

     

The effort sparked City into life and a cross from Negredo found Edin Dzeko at the back post.

The striker turned and laid the ball off for Silva to hit a crisp strike which beat Maarten Stekelenburg, but rebounded off the bar.

Silva was then fouled by Steve Sidwell on the edge of the Fulham area, giving City a free-kick in a dangerous position.

There was little doubt Toure would take it and the midfielder curled a delightful effort which kissed the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the net.

With Taarabt prominent, Fulham had half chances, but City were dangerous on the break and should have gone two up when Aleksandar Kolorov crossed for Dzeko, whose casual side-footed effort was saved by Stekelenburg.

Dzeko had a header saved as he stretched to reach a lofted ball before Fulham defender Philippe Senderos departed injured, with Fernando Amorebieta.

Taarabt then could not capitalise on a slip by Martin Demichelis, who had a significant role in City’s second.

The Argentina defender saw his header from a Silva free-kick saved, but only as far as Kompany, who prodded in.

City resumed on the attack and 90 seconds after the restart Kolorov crossed for Silva to slide in, but Stekelenburg made a sharp save.

Silva lost possession as City tried to find an opening on the edge of the Fulham box and the hosts countered with the ruthlessness of their visitors.

Taarabt broke down the left, out-pacing Clichy and Demichelis, and charged into the area, drew Hart to his near post and crossed for Richardson to tuck in.

Captain's strike: Kompany have the visitors a 2-0 lead just before half-time

Captain’s strike: Kompany have the visitors a 2-0 lead just before half-time

 

Bullet: The Manchester City captain heads Maarten Stekelenburg in the Fulham goal
Bullet: The Manchester City captain heads Maarten Stekelenburg in the Fulham goal
Back in it: Kieran Richardson halved Fulham's deficit five minutes after the break
Back in it: Kieran Richardson halved Fulham’s deficit five minutes after the break
Mistake: Kompany reacts after steering the ball into his own net n a comical own goal
Mistake: Kompany reacts after steering the ball into his own net n a comical own goal
Loop: Kompany sliced his clearance from a low cross and saw his shot nestle in the far corner
Loop: Kompany sliced his clearance from a low cross and saw his shot nestle in the far corner

 

Desperate: Navas ran in to try and prevent Kompany's wild clearance from going in the net
Desperate: Navas ran in to try and prevent Kompany’s wild clearance from going in the net

 

Disaster: Both Navas and Joe Hart were helpless as the ball rolled into the back of the net
Disaster: Both Navas and Joe Hart were helpless as the ball rolled into the back of the net

 

Scar: Kompany cut his face before the own-goal
Scar: Kompany cut his face before the own-goal

 

Sidwell had a half chance and City reacted to the Fulham pressure by replacing Dzeko with Navas, who fired narrowly wide after the ball broke for him following Silva’s beautifully-weighted pass to Alvaro Negredo.

Fulham deservedly equalised in fortuitous circumstances following a Riether cross from the right.

Kompany attempted to clear, but merely succeeded in comically slicing a left-footed clearance over Hart and into his own net.

As Fulham attempted to build further pressure, City struck with a goal made by two Spaniards and scored by another.

Negredo fed Silva, who played in Navas with a perfect through ball.

Navas still had plenty to do as he out-paced Amorebieta and shot through the legs of Stekelenburg.

Deflated: Fulham players look on after Navas' goal gave City a 3-2 lead
Deflated: Fulham players look on after Navas’ goal gave City a 3-2 lead
Delight: Navas celebrates after giving Manchester City the lead again with 12 minutes to play
Delight: Navas celebrates after giving Manchester City the lead again with 12 minutes to play

Complete: James Milner scores Manchester City's fourth goal in the 83rd minute
Complete: James Milner scores Manchester City’s fourth goal in the 83rd minute

 

Stekelenburg was soon beaten again, killing off any hope of a second Fulham fightback.

Negredo found himself wide on the right, but played an outrageous pass with the outside of his left foot into the box where Milner ghosted in and netted to complete victory.

 

Back in favour: Joe Hart returned in goal for Manchester City after losing his place to Costel Pantilimon

Back in favour: Joe Hart returned in goal for Manchester City after losing his place to Costel Pantilimon

 

Delight: Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen reacts to seeing his team score
Delight: Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen reacts to seeing his team score 

 

Source : Daily mail

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