|Yaya Toure, the hero|
Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure proved his worth again today, scoring two goals to inspire Manchester City to a priceless 2-0 win over Newcastle.
The African Footballer of the Year scored two second-half goals, the first a wonder goal, to bring City just one win away from claiming the English Premiership title.
In what was expected to be a potential banana skin for Roberto Mancini’s side, City were the better team throughout and in the end comfortably cosigned Newcastle to only their third home defeat of the season, and their first since December.
Newcastle though, buoyed by confidence from a super season, charged at City from the first whistle, but like all good sides in a high pressure situation, the visitors sat back and soaked it up before starting to impose themselves on the game.
Having pushed Newcastle back, David Silva was given the first clear chance, but his low shot was well saved by Tim Krul. Moments later Samir Nasri failed to control Carlos Tevez’s pass, when a gentle first touch would have given him a dangerous shooting position.
A rash moment from Krul, when he came charging out his area, almost allowed Nasri to make amends, but his tame shot from a tight angle was cleared by covering defenders.
The Newcastle goalkeeper was in more characteristic form when he came off his line boldly to gather the ball at the feet of Silva. Krul also did well to gather an awkward bouncing free kick from Tevez.
City looked dangerous, but Newcastle, as they have all season, found another dimension to their own offensive play and gradually gave their title-chasing opponents something to think about.
Demba Ba’s shot on the turn went narrowly over and the Senegal striker saw another blocked by Gael Clichy, the ball looping up for Hatem Ben Arfa to volley – Joe Hart doing well to keep it out at his near post.
Had Ba, as he would have during his prolific first half of the season, hit his shot first time, Hart may have had no chance.
Still City looked dangerous, Gareth Barry seeing two goalbound shots blocked, first by Fabricio Coloccini and then by Davide Santon.
Their goal, though, came midway through the second-half, Silva combining with Yaya Toure to allow the former Barcelona midfielder to look up and pick his spot with a low curling shot which nestled in the bottom corner.
City’s celebrations were long and exuberant – like they had just scored the goal that would go on to win them the league.
Sergio Aguero should have a bit later. With 15 minutes remaining, Silva picked out the Argentinean’s run with a brilliant chipped pass, but he rolled the ball past Krul and the wrong side of the post.
Nerves jangled in the away end, in Manchester and in Abu Dhabi. Toure could have settled them, heading a free-kick over before, farcically, falling over his own feet when one-on-one with Krul
He did not waste a third, City breaking brilliantly after substitute Micah Richards had thrown himself in the way of Shola Ameobi’s volley, before Clichy found Toure and he found the back of the net from close range.
City now know that a win against QPR in their final game would secure the English Premiership title, barring a miracle.