Manchester City took over at the top of the Premier League table after winning 2-0 against Newcastle United in a tempestuous encounter at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo claimed City’s goals, but the defining incident of the match occurred mid-way through the first half when Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote had a goal contentiously ruled out for offside.
Referee Mike Jones’s decision created a taut atmosphere inside the stadium, with fans jeering the officials and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew haranguing Jones as he left the pitch at half-time.
It was City’s sixth consecutive league win, lifting it above Chelsea at the summit.
Bidding to avenge a 4-0 defeat at City on the season’s opening day, Newcastle began at a high tempo, but it took the visitor less than eight minutes to make the breakthrough.
David Silva released Aleksandar Kolarov with an incisive pass down the inside-left channel and the Serbian left-back delivered a low cross that was clipped home by Dzeko.
There followed a moment of real controversy in the 34th minute, when Tiote thrashed a shot past Joe Hart from the edge of the box, only for referee Jones to rule the goal out for offside after speaking to his assistant.
Yoan Gouffran, hovering in front of goal as Tiote shot, did not appear to have been interfering with play, and the angry mood in the ground was almost worsened when Silva volleyed narrowly wide from a corner.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini bolstered his midfield by introducing Jesus Navas in place of Dzeko early in the second half, as dissent from Newcastle’s fans continued to rain down on the match officials.
After Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul kept his side in the game with a point-blank save to repel a header from Negredo, the host began to push its visitor back.
Yohan Cabaye saw one long-range strike saved by City goalkeeper Hart and another whistle over the bar, before Hart produced a smart save with his legs to foil Loic Remy.
The game’s unforgiving intensity claimed a late victim when City midfielder Samir Nasri had to be stretchered off, apparently in tears, after a wild, knee-high foul by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Negredo sealed victory for City in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he ran the ball into the net after seeing an initial attempt blocked by Krul.
Man United ends
Manchester United lifted the gloom around Old Trafford by beating Swansea 2-0 on Saturday, ending a three-match losing run that pushed the champion to the brink of a crisis.
The relief was clear inside the iconic stadium after Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck scored second-half goals to revive a season that was in danger of derailing under new manager David Moyes.
On Sunday: Newcastle United 0 lost to Manchester City 2 (Dzeko 8, Negredo 90+5).
On Saturday: Manchester United 2 (Valencia 47, Welbeck 59) bt Swansea City 0;Cardiff 0 lost to West Ham 2 (C. Cole 42, Noble 90).
Everton 2 (Barry 23, Mirallas 59) bt Norwich City 0; Fulham 1 (Sidwell 52) lost to Sunderland 4 (Johnson 29, 69 & 85-pen, Ki 41); Southampton 1 (Lallana 66) bt West Brom 0; Tottenham 2 (Eriksen 50, Defoe 73) bt Crystal Palace 0. — AFP