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Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Fulham   1 - 2   Man City

Roque Santa Cruz scores
Santa Cruz scores City's first goal in the sixth minute at Craven Cottage

By Phil Dawkes

Manchester City kept up their hopes of a top-four finish and brought Fulham back to earth after their Europa League heroics with victory at Craven Cottage.

For the second successive game Fulham were behind early on as Roque Santa Cruz followed up to tap City ahead after Craig Bellamy had hit the post.

Carlos Tevez fired in from close range just before half-time to make it 2-0.

Gareth Barry's handball allowed Danny Murphy to reduce the arrears from the spot but an equaliser would not come.

Tottenham's 2-1 victory at Stoke on Saturday, which strengthened the London club's hold on a place in the Premier League top four, meant it was imperative that City won to maintain their challenge for Champions League football next season.

The efficient way they went about this, against a Fulham side who have won their last three games at the Cottage, bodes well for City's lofty ambitions.

Fulham deserved more - Hodgson

They are two points adrift of Tottenham with a game in hand but, perhaps decisively, six of their remaining nine games are at home - including back-to-back fixtures against fellow Champions League aspirants Aston Villa and Spurs at the start of May.

They gave themselves the perfect platform for the win through Santa Cruz's opening goal in the sixth minute; a simple finish that owed a great deal to two principle contributors.

Centre-back Kolo Toure was firstly on hand to hook the ball off his own line after Zoltan Gera had poked the ball past Shay Given, and then from the swiftest of resulting counter-attacks Bellamy produced a superb drive that struck a post and evaded Mark Schwarzer before falling perfectly to Santa Cruz for the simplest of tap-ins.

It was the second time in a week that Fulham have fallen behind to a goal in the first 10 minutes after David Trezeguet's second-minute goal for Juventus in Thursday's Europa League second leg match.

Three days ago, the early goal spurred the Cottagers on to one of the finest results in their history, winning 4-1 against the Italian giants to overcome a 3-1 first leg deficit and book a Europa League quarter-final place.

606: DEBATE
IronFistCliveMyers

But here both the atmosphere inside Craven Cottage and the play of the home side lacked the bite that had made the midweek match such a special occasion.

This performance was more akin to their disappointing display at Old Trafford in their previous league match, where they offered little in a 3-0 defeat to City's Manchester rivals United.

Their task was made even harder when, 10 minutes before half-time, Tevez doubled City's advantage with a well-taken goal.

The lively Bellamy was released down the left and his cross was brought down superbly in the box by Tevez, who turned defender Chris Smalling and finished with aplomb.

It was Tevez's 22nd goal of the season, his fourth in four games, and a fitting highlight of what was a typically robust display from the striker.

Winger Adam Johnson came off the bench against Sunderland last Sunday to earn City a point with a last-minute goal and he had enough chances in the second half here to make his side's route to three points much more comfortable than it ended up being.

Edgy Man City make Mancini nervous

Midway through the half he cut in from the right and unleashed a dipping drive which struck the outside of Schwarzer's right-hand post and went wide.

Not long after, Smalling's tackle on Tevez after the Argentine had penetrated the box with a mazy run diverted the ball to Johnson, but his curling effort from 18 yards drifted past the far post.

Santa Cruz and Bellamy also wasted good opportunities before, out of the blue, Fulham were gifted a lifeline that their performance had barely merited.

Chris Baird's cross from the right struck Barry, prompting referee Lee Probert to blow for a penalty, feeling the ball had struck the midfielder's left hand.

Murphy, back in the side after suspension for the midweek game with Juventus, calmly slotted the resulting spot kick.

Substitute Stefano Okaka should have drawn the home side level minutes later when fellow replacement Bjorn Helge Riise played him in on goal but from 10 yards out and with only the keeper to beat he put his shot past the near post.

In injury time, Fulham once again appealed to referee Probert after Riise's cross struck Vincent Kompany's right arm - arguably a clearer offence than the earlier one adjudged to be a penalty - but the official waved them away.


Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:

"I think we maybe deserved a point on our second half performance.

"I wasn't that satisfied with our first half performance but in the second we were much better and I'd have liked the game to go on a bit longer.

"It's disappointing after such a good win on Thursday night to be brought back down to earth today."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:

"We deserved to win the game. We created a lot of chances.

"We had two or three chances in the second half and if you don't finish off the game there's always a chance something can happen.

"We must think game after game. We have won this but on Wednesday we have a hard match against Everton. There will be a fight until the end of the season."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham 1-2 Man City FT
(HT 0-2)
  • Murphy (pen) 75
  • Santa Cruz 7
  • Tevez 36

Fulham

Substitutes

Man City

Substitutes

Ref: ProbertAtt: 25,359
FULHAM
MAN CITY

Possession

  • Fulham 51%
  • Man City 49%

Attempts on target

  • Fulham 4
  • Man City 9

Attempts off target

  • Fulham 6
  • Man City 6

Corners

  • Fulham 4
  • Man City 2

Fouls

  • Fulham 8
  • Man City 9
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+5:01 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
  • 90:00+3:12 Substitution Craig Bellamy leaves the field to be replaced by Nedum Onuoha.
  • 90:00+3:12 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Danny Murphy from the left by-line, Shot from just outside the area by Bjorn Helge Riise misses to the left of the target.
  • 90:00+2:00 Gareth Barry concedes a free kick for a foul on Clinton Dempsey. Clinton Dempsey shoots direct from the free kick.
  • 90:00+1:32 Effort from inside the area by Shaun Wright-Phillips misses to the left of the target.
  • 88:35 Patrick Vieira takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 87:42 Carlos Tevez challenges Paul Konchesky unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Konchesky.
  • 87:30 Damien Duff is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.
  • 84:24 Unfair challenge on Patrick Vieira by Dickson Etuhu results in a free kick. Pablo Zabaleta takes the free kick.
  • 83:48 Substitution (Man City) makes a substitution, with Shaun Wright-Phillips coming on for Adam Johnson.
  • 81:37 Stefano Okaka produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 81:09 Stefano Okaka produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
  • Correction - 79:53 Substitution Bjorn Helge Riise replaces Chris Baird.
  • 79:53 Substitution Bjorn Helge Riise joins the action as a substitute, replacing Damien Duff.
  • 78:09 Substitution Roque Santa Cruz goes off and Nigel De Jong comes on.
  • 76:49 The ball is swung over by Simon Davies, clearance by Javier Garrido.
  • 75:39 Stefano Okaka challenges Patrick Vieira unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gareth Barry crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
  • 74:36 The assist for the goal came from Chris Baird.
  • 74:36 GOAL - Danny MurphyFulham 1 - 2 Man City Danny Murphy scores a placed penalty. Fulham 1-2 Man City.
  • 73:46 The ball is swung over by Chris Baird. Gareth Barry is penalised for a handball.
  • 71:45 Foul by Patrick Vieira on Danny Murphy, free kick awarded. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Clinton Dempsey.
  • 68:40 Effort from the edge of the area by Adam Johnson goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 67:52 Stefano Okaka gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Garrido. Direct free kick taken by Patrick Vieira.
  • 66:54 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Simon Davies, clearance made by Javier Garrido.
  • 64:53 Effort from the edge of the area by Craig Bellamy goes wide of the left-hand upright.
  • 63:00 Simon Davies delivers the ball, clearance by Vincent Kompany.
  • 62:47 Unfair challenge on Stefano Okaka by Kolo Toure results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Dickson Etuhu.
  • Correction - 61:20 Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Save by Shay Given.
  • 61:20 Clinton Dempsey produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
  • 59:02 Javier Garrido is caught offside. Mark Schwarzer takes the indirect free kick.
  • 57:40 Adam Johnson has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box that bounces off the post.
  • 56:29 Roque Santa Cruz takes a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 54:53 Substitution Stefano Okaka is brought on as a substitute for Zoltan Gera.
  • 53:52 Foul by Dickson Etuhu on Carlos Tevez, free kick awarded. Patrick Vieira takes the free kick.
  • 51:30 Substitution Clinton Dempsey replaces Bobby Zamora.
  • 45:53 Free kick awarded for a foul by Bobby Zamora on Vincent Kompany. Shay Given takes the free kick.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:12 The ref blows to signal half-time.
  • 44:33 Handball by Roque Santa Cruz. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.
  • 42:12 Dickson Etuhu produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.
  • 41:35 Carlos Tevez challenges Chris Smalling unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Konchesky.
  • 37:15 Damien Duff is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Shay Given.
  • 35:36 Assist on the goal came from Craig Bellamy.
  • 35:36 GOAL - Carlos TevezFulham 0 - 2 Man City Goal scored by Carlos Tevez from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Fulham 0-2 Man City.
  • 32:33 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Patrick Vieira by Dickson Etuhu. Free kick taken by Kolo Toure.
  • 31:57 The ball is delivered by Damien Duff, clearance by Javier Garrido.
  • 28:47 Craig Bellamy challenges Aaron Hughes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
  • 28:07 Bobby Zamora is ruled offside. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
  • 27:31 Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrick Vieira on Bobby Zamora. Aaron Hughes takes the direct free kick.
  • 27:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Zoltan Gera on Patrick Vieira. Patrick Vieira takes the direct free kick.
  • Correction - 23:30 The offside flag is raised against Damien Duff. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.
  • 23:30 The assistant referee signals for offside against Damien Duff. Indirect free kick taken by Shay Given.
  • 22:46 Carlos Tevez takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 21:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Carlos Tevez by Danny Murphy. Craig Bellamy crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Aaron Hughes. Outswinging corner taken by Craig Bellamy, Chris Smalling makes a clearance.
  • 17:24 Roque Santa Cruz takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
  • 15:07 Carlos Tevez takes a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 14:36 Chris Baird produces a cross, Zoltan Gera takes a shot. Shay Given makes a comfortable save.
  • 10:51 Outswinging corner taken by Simon Davies. Damien Duff has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
  • 10:12 Shot by Adam Johnson. Chris Smalling gets a block in.
  • 9:53 The ball is crossed by Paul Konchesky, Javier Garrido makes a clearance.
  • 9:06 Centre by Paul Konchesky, clearance made by Javier Garrido.
  • 8:43 Patrick Vieira gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Murphy. Danny Murphy takes the direct free kick.
  • 8:14 Unfair challenge on Zoltan Gera by Kolo Toure results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
  • 6:08 Craig Bellamy provided the assist for the goal.
  • 6:08 GOAL - Roque Santa CruzFulham 0 - 1 Man City Roque Santa Cruz finds the back of the net with a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Fulham 0-1 Man City.
  • 6:06 Shot by Craig Bellamy from deep inside the penalty area hits the post.
  • 5:47 Damien Duff crosses the ball, Zoltan Gera takes a shot. Clearance made by Vincent Kompany.
  • 5:14 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies from the right by-line.
  • 4:09 Adam Johnson delivers the ball, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 2:59 Roque Santa Cruz takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 2:20 Effort from 30 yards by Carlos Tevez. Save by Mark Schwarzer. Inswinging corner taken by Adam Johnson, Simon Davies makes a clearance.
  • 1:28 The official flags Zoltan Gera offside. Indirect free kick taken by Shay Given.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

21 Mar 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 21 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 31 47 69
2 Arsenal 31 40 67
3 Chelsea 30 42 65
4 Tottenham 30 26 55
5 Man City 29 18 53
6 Liverpool 31 18 51
7 Aston Villa 29 17 50
8 Everton 30 6 45
9 Birmingham 30 -3 44
10 Fulham 30 -1 38
11 Stoke 30 -6 36
12 Blackburn 30 -17 35
13 Sunderland 30 -6 34
14 Bolton 31 -20 32
15 Wigan 31 -30 31
16 Wolves 30 -24 28
17 West Ham 30 -14 27
18 Burnley 31 -33 24
19 Hull 30 -35 24
20 Portsmouth 30 -25 13

see also
Sunday football as it happened
21 Mar 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
21 Mar 10 |  Football
Hodgson urges caution on spending
21 Mar 10 |  Fulham



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