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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Man City   2 - 0   Stoke

Man City boss Roberto Mancini (left) celebrates assistant manager Brian Kidd
Mancini (left) celebrates the first goal of his reign with assistant boss Brian Kidd

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Eastlands

Roberto Mancini calmed the turbulence around Eastlands as he started his reign as Manchester City manager with a comfortable victory against Stoke City.

Mancini was warmly greeted by City's fans after taking charge following the controversial sacking of Mark Hughes - and his opening victory will have been greeted with relief by watching chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and chief executive Garry Cook.

The pair have been heavily criticised following the removal of Hughes and the hasty succession of the former Inter Milan coach, but they will now hope focus can return to events on the field at Eastlands and the pursuit of fourth place in the Premier League.

Martin Petrov, restored to the side by Mancini, scored the first goal under the Italian's stewardship with a far-post finish after 28 minutes and Carlos Tevez turned in the second in first-half stoppage-time.

City's victory was workmanlike as opposed to spectacular, and even in defeat Stoke were occasionally able to hint at the defensive vulnerability that did much to undermine Hughes's reign before his ruthless dismissal.

Mancini happy with debut victory

Hughes has left one major dilemma behind for the Italian to solve - and it was in evidence as Craig Bellamy was greeted by a standing ovation when he replaced the disappointing Robinho with 20 minutes left.

It was an obvious message to Mancini about Bellamy's approval rating inside Eastlands, and a sign that his tireless efforts are preferred to the more fleeting glimpses of the Brazilian's genius.

This is for the future however, perhaps the January transfer window, and all City and Mancini required was the triumph to start yet another new managerial era.

Mancini, resplendent in sky blue scarf and enthusiastically welcomed by those gathered inside Eastlands, was able to reflect on a job well done after his first 45 minutes in charge as City established a two-goal lead.

Stoke, if anything, were quicker to settle than City and in the early stages had the game's brightest performer in Tuncay. He forced Shay Given into a brave block after 20 minutes and the keeper needed lengthy treatment after colliding with team-mate Kolo Toure after making the save.

City goalscorers Martin Petrov (left) and carlos Tevez
City goalscorers Petrov (left) and Tevez enjoy the Argentine's strike

Bellamy's relegation to the bench after Hughes's dismissal clearly struck a chord with City's fans, who gave the Welsh striker a rousing reception as he warmed up along the touchline. If these cheers were designed to send a message to Mancini, they were overshadowed by the first goal of the Italian's reign after 28 minutes.

When Tevez's cross found Robinho in the area it was debatable what the Brazilian actually intended to do, but his touch fell perfectly into the path of Petrov, who drove home at the far post.

Petrov almost doubled the lead two minutes before the interval when he arrived on the end of Silvinho's cross in an identical position at the far post, but this time applied a wayward finish.

If Stoke thought Petrov's miss ensured they would go in at half-time only one goal behind, they were to be disappointed as Tevez scored City's second almost as referee Lee Mason prepared to blow his whistle.

Gareth Barry won a header from Pablo Zabaleta's cross and Tevez turned an athletic finish beyond the reach of Thomas Sorensen.

And it was almost three immediately after the break when Sorensen saved well from Petrov and recovered to claim the rebound as Robinho closed in.

PHIL McNULTY BLOG

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was then forced to play all his cards in swift succession as Robert Huth replaced the injured Andy Wilkinson and strikers Mamady Sidibe and Tuncay were removed, James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller entering the action.

Beattie and Huth were both involved as Stoke tried to make inroads into City's lead. Given reacted well to make a one-handed save from Beattie at the near post, and Huth rose to head the resulting corner just wide.

With 20 minutes remaining there was a significant moment as Eastlands roared its approval for the appearance of Bellamy at the expense of the lacklustre Robinho.

And he almost delighted his legion of fans even further when he broke past Huth into the area, but saw his effort blocked by Sorensen's legs.

Mancini applauded his players in delight at the final whistle, and can now move to the next stage of his mission - to revive Manchester City.


Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:

City seeking success under Mancini - Barry

"For me today is a good match. The players were fantastic as Stoke is a hard team.

"We didn't concede a goal, the balance was good and we played well in the first half. It's important the team play the ball on the pitch.

"I think we must work hard. I work for five days only and if we want to arrive at the top we must work hard."
Stoke City boss Tony Pulis:
"We've created good chances again and we have to put them in the back of the net. If we go 1-0 then it's a different game and there's pressure on Man City to play well.

Pulis worried by goal famine

"We gave two poor, poor goals away. We are very disappointed with the goals we conceded. Games are won and lost in both boxes and we certainly have got to improve that but the players have put the effort in again and have had a right go.

"It's a problem because we need to score goals to win games but it's not as if we are not creating chances.

"We have had four of our last six games away from home so it's been a tough period but we have a few games at home and it's important we are up for it."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man City 2-0 Stoke FT
(HT 2-0)
  • Petrov 28
  • Tevez 45+3

    Man City

    Substitutes

    Stoke

    Substitutes

    • 01 Simonsen,
    • 04 Huth,
    • 07 Lawrence,
    • 14 Pugh,
    • 24 Delap,
    • 09 Beattie,
    • 10 Fuller
    Ref: Lee MasonAtt: 47,325
    MAN CITY
    STOKE

    Possession

    • Man City 57%
    • Stoke 43%

    Attempts on target

    • Man City 6
    • Stoke 3

    Attempts off target

    • Man City 6
    • Stoke 4

    Corners

    • Man City 7
    • Stoke 6

    Fouls

    • Man City 13
    • Stoke 10
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:24 The match has reached full-time.
    • 90:00+2:12 Effort from deep inside the area by Danny Higginbotham misses to the right of the target.
    • 90:00+1:29 Foul by Vincent Kompany on Ricardo Fuller, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
    • 90:00+0:29 The official flags Ricardo Fuller offside. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
    • 89:33 Substitution Javier Garrido is brought on as a substitute for Carlos Tevez.
    • 88:55 The offside flag is raised against Dean Whitehead. Free kick taken by Shay Given.
    • 88:07 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Matthew Etherington, Micah Richards manages to make a clearance.
    • 87:23 Effort from just outside the area by Carlos Tevez goes over the bar.
    • 83:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Vincent Kompany on Ricardo Fuller. Glenn Whelan restarts play with the free kick.
    • 81:50 Corner from right by-line taken by Martin Petrov.
    • 81:28 Short corner worked by Craig Bellamy.
    • 81:08 Craig Bellamy takes a shot. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 79:52 Direct free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
    • 79:52 Booking The referee books Glenn Whelan for unsporting behaviour.
    • 79:48 Glenn Whelan is penalised for a handball.
    • 78:03 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington, save made by Shay Given.
    • 76:09 James Beattie fouled by Nigel De Jong, the ref awards a free kick. Abdoulaye Faye restarts play with the free kick.
    • 72:15 Header by Ricardo Fuller from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
    • 71:51 Ricardo Fuller fouled by Craig Bellamy, the ref awards a free kick. Matthew Etherington takes the direct free kick.
    • 70:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Fuller by Vincent Kompany. Direct free kick taken by Robert Huth.
    • 69:57 Unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Dean Whitehead results in a free kick. Pablo Zabaleta takes the free kick.
    • 69:23 Substitution De Souza Robinho goes off and Craig Bellamy comes on.
    • 65:02 Substitution Micah Richards comes on in place of Silvio Sylvinho.
    • 62:57 Volleyed right-footed shot by James Beattie. Save by Thomas Sorensen. Outswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the left by-line, Header from close in by Robert Huth misses to the right of the goal. De Souza Robinho produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kolo Toure by James Beattie. Nigel De Jong takes the free kick.
    • 62:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Pablo Zabaleta. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
    • 57:52 Gareth Barry restarts play with the free kick.
    • 57:52 Substitution Ricardo Fuller replaces Tuncay Sanli.
    • 57:52 Glenn Whelan concedes a free kick for a foul on Nigel De Jong.
    • 57:23 Glenn Whelan takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Ireland. The official flags James Beattie offside. Indirect free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
    • 56:31 Foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Matthew Etherington, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Danny Higginbotham.
    • 54:20 Gareth Barry takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen. Foul by Nigel De Jong on Dean Whitehead, free kick awarded. Abdoulaye Faye takes the free kick.
    • 53:52 Silvio Sylvinho fouled by Dean Whitehead, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Gareth Barry.
    • 51:41 Substitution James Beattie is brought on as a substitute for Mamady Sidibe.
    • 49:52 Foul by Nigel De Jong on Salif Diao, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 49:09 Carlos Tevez fouled by Glenn Whelan, the ref awards a free kick. Carlos Tevez takes the free kick.
    • 47:10 Substitution Andy Wilkinson goes off and Robert Huth comes on.
    • 45:20 Martin Petrov takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 45:01 The second half kicks off.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+3:40 The players leave the pitch at half time.
    • 45:00+2:25 Gareth Barry provided the assist for the goal.
    • 45:00+2:25 GOAL - Carlos TevezMan City 2 - 0 Stoke Carlos Tevez scores a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Man City 2-0 Stoke.
    • 45:00+2:03 Inswinging corner taken by De Souza Robinho from the left by-line, clearance by Glenn Whelan.
    • 45:00+1:18 Corner taken right-footed by De Souza Robinho from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Abdoulaye Faye.
    • 44:35 De Souza Robinho has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
    • 42:44 Effort on goal by Martin Petrov from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
    • 40:56 Shot from long distance by De Souza Robinho misses to the right of the goal.
    • 38:29 Foul by Tuncay Sanli on Kolo Toure, free kick awarded. Kolo Toure takes the direct free kick.
    • 35:12 Pablo Zabaleta restarts play with the free kick.
    • 35:12 Booking The referee cautions Salif Diao for unsporting behaviour.
    • 34:54 Nigel De Jong fouled by Salif Diao, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 34:14 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington played to the near post, Shot from outside the box by Glenn Whelan goes wide right of the target.
    • 32:46 Andy Wilkinson fouled by De Souza Robinho, the ref awards a free kick. Abdoulaye Faye takes the direct free kick.
    • 31:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Collins on Martin Petrov. Pablo Zabaleta takes the direct free kick.
    • 28:51 De Souza Robinho fouled by Salif Diao, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
    • 27:27 De Souza Robinho provided the assist for the goal.
    • 27:27 GOAL - Martin PetrovMan City 1 - 0 Stoke Martin Petrov scores a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Man City 1-0 Stoke.
    • 26:09 Tuncay Sanli is caught offside. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
    • 25:27 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan from the left by-line to the near post, Gareth Barry makes a clearance.
    • 19:04 Tuncay Sanli takes a shot. Save by Shay Given. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan played to the near post.
    • 16:45 Tuncay Sanli fouled by Kolo Toure, the ref awards a free kick. Glenn Whelan takes the free kick.
    • 16:08 De Souza Robinho takes a shot. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 13:02 Corner taken by Martin Petrov from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Mamady Sidibe.
    • 10:55 Effort from the edge of the area by Carlos Tevez goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 8:45 Danny Collins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Petrov. Pablo Zabaleta takes the free kick.
    • 5:01 Corner taken by Martin Petrov from the right by-line, clearance by Andy Wilkinson.
    • 3:31 Martin Petrov takes a inswinging corner.
    • 2:39 Foul by Martin Petrov on Andy Wilkinson, free kick awarded. Abdoulaye Faye takes the free kick.
    • 0:20 Free kick awarded for a foul by Vincent Kompany on Tuncay Sanli. Matthew Etherington takes the free kick.
    • 0:00 The game kicks-off.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League table

    Saturday, 26 December 2009 19:28 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 19 28 42
    2 Man Utd 18 20 37
    3 Arsenal 17 24 35
    4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
    5 Tottenham 19 18 34
    6 Man City 18 8 32
    7 Liverpool 19 11 30
    8 Birmingham 19 1 29
    9 Fulham 18 6 27
    10 Sunderland 19 -3 22
    11 Stoke 18 -7 21
    12 Blackburn 19 -15 20
    13 Burnley 19 -16 20
    14 Everton 18 -8 19
    15 Wolves 19 -16 19
    16 Wigan 18 -18 19
    17 West Ham 19 -7 18
    18 Bolton 17 -10 17
    19 Hull 18 -20 17
    20 Portsmouth 19 -11 14

    see also
    Premier League photos
    26 Dec 09 |  Football
    Boxing Day football as it happened
    26 Dec 09 |  Football



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