Tevez strike seals victory for City

Manchester City closed the gap on league leaders Manchester Untied to 12 points with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.

Carlos Tevez’s winning goal came in first-half stoppage time leaving Villa in the relegation zone and in danger of being relegated for the first time since 1987.

The home side began brightly and dominated the early stages with Christian Benteke seeing a header cleared off the line by Tevez just after the 20-minute mark.

Jack Rodwell had a left-footed effort at the other end that Brad Guzan tipped over but the former Everton midfielder injured himself in shooting and was replaced by Edin Dzeko.

The arrival of the Bosnian striker perked up a sluggish City and the visitors began to take control of the game with Pablo Zabaleta denied by a combination of Guzan and post in the 37th minute.

Mancini’s men piled on the pressure with Villa’s confidence beginning to drain.

A defensive error from Ciaran Clark brought the opening goal as he attempted to turn past Dzeko despite being the last man. Dzeko was able to run through unchallenged before the Bosnian selflessly played in Carlos Tevez to round Brad Guzan and score.

City took charge after the break and came closest to doubling their lead when Yaya Toure struck the post.

Villa’s best hope of an equaliser was on the counter-attack and a quick break saw centre-back Kolo Toure produce a fine defensive header to deny Gabriel Agbonlahor.

As Villa battled, City showed the greater incision and the visitors had an effort disallowed for offside when Dzeko tucked the ball home after Guzan had tipped Yaya Toure’s shot onto the post.

And Mancini’s men were able to negotiate the final stages to reduce the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points – while leaving Villa supporters fearing the worst.