Manchester City 4 West Bromwich Albion 2
A double dose of Brazilian magic pushed West Bromwich Albion closer to the Coca-Cola Championship at Eastlands.
Elano converted a penalty after Robinho had opened the scoring with his first goal of the year. But this was a far from routine win for Manchester City as they were pushed all the way by Tony Mowbray’s men.
With Nedum Onuoha also on target they made the perfect start but a brace from Chris Brunt gave Albion hope. However, they ran out time – with Daniel Sturridge scoring in stoppage time – and their survival hopes look bleak.
Mowbray remained upbeat even though they are nine points adrift of safety with five games to go. He said: “We will be positive and try to win all five games. We owe that to our supporters, who have had a tough season.”
Mowbray felt City’s second goal should have been disallowed as he claimed goalkeeper Scott Carson was impeded.
He explained: “It was an obvious foul that was not picked up. But you have got to take it on the chin.”
City took their foot off the pedal after racing into a two-goal lead in the first 20 minutes through Robinho and Onuoha. Considering it was his first league goal in 12 games and his first this year, there was no lack of confidence in the finish from the Brazilian.
City, however, still looked vulnerable at the back and Jonas Olsson and Abdoulaye Meite squandered good chances in quick succession.
But the home side extended their lead in the 20th minute after Elano swung in a corner from the right. Meite only succeeded in heading the ball up in the air and Onuoha headed in his first goal of the season. Carson complained about being impeded and was booked for his troubles.
Albion almost pulled a goal back in the 31st minute, only for Felipe Caicedo to clear Robert Koren’s header off the line. They got their reward six minutes later with a crisp finish from Brunt for his fifth goal of the season after he was set up by Fortune.
The Baggies maintained their momentum and equalised in the 54th minute when Brunt scored his second.
However, Albion celebrations lasted only a minute as City regained the lead, Elano sending Carson the wrong way with his penalty kick after he had been floored by Jonas Olsson.
Albion paid the price for pushing forward when Sturridge scored in stoppage time after being released by Ireland.
Scorers: Robinho (8) 1-0, Onuoha (21), Brunt (37) 2-1, Brunt (54) 2-2, Elano (pen, 56) 3-2, Sturridge (90) 4-2.
Manchester City: Given, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, De Jong, Kompany, Ireland, Elano (Fernandes, 74), Caicedo (Sturridge, 58), Robinho (Petrov, 84). Substitutes: Hart, Richards, Garrido, Evans.
ALBION: Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Robinson, Morrison (Mulumbu, 66), Greening, Koren (Simpson, 62), Dorrans (Borja Valero, 62), Brunt, Fortune. Substitutes: Kiely, Filipe Teixeira, Donk, Wood.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Bookings: City – Kompany; Albion – Carson, Morrison.