EDIN Dzeko struck his first league goals of the season to the relief of all at Manchester City and none more so than Eliaquim Mangala. Dzeko and Sergio AgÃ¼ero scored to put Manuel Pellegriniâ€™s team in command within 11 minutes against Hull but the visitors contrived to throw away the two-goal advantage, with Mangala highly culpable.
The French defender scored an own goal and conceded a penalty, which was converted by Abel HernÃ¡ndez as the home side rallied. Pellegriniâ€™s team looked in danger of losing more ground on Chelsea, their main rivals for the Premier League title, until Dzeko struck Cityâ€™s third goal midway through the second half after fine work from David Silva before the substitute Frank Lampard scored his fourth goal in three matches to finally make the game safe.
Mangala, 23, joined City from Porto for Â£32m in the summer and was impressive on his debut against Chelsea a week ago. This was not such a good day. â€œYou cannot analyse a player in one match,â€ Pellegrini said. â€œIn the last match he was wonderful and everyone was saying heâ€™s the best defender in the world. Now, he has conceded an own goal and a penalty. He is only a young player, but not too young for the Premier League. He has a lot of experience. He has been a champion three times and played a lot in the Champions League, played for France and won titles in Portugal. He was wonderful for us against Chelsea last week and he will continue to play in our team.â€
The visitors made five changes to the team that cruised to a 7-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, but the retention of Willy Caballero was the most eye-catching of Pellegriniâ€™s selection. The Argentinian goalkeeper was signed from Pellegriniâ€™s former club MÃ¡laga for Â£6m in the summer with the intention of keeping Joe Hart on his toes, though the England goalkeeper is expected to return to face Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Hull have now conceded 13 goals in their past five matches and there was a glimpse of this fragility after only 39 seconds when AgÃ¼ero breezed into the penalty area before firing at Allan McGregor from a tight angle.
It was an early warning sign and after seven minutes the champions where ahead. Hullâ€™s defending was already becoming frantic and a failure to clear their lines fully was punished. Pablo Zabaleta outjumped Livermore to win a header 15 yards out and AgÃ¼ero volleyed expertly across McGregor to find the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season.
It took just four minutes for things to get worse for the hosts. Silva found room to release a pass to Dzeko on the corner of the penalty area, from where the Bosnia striker cut inside Liam Rosenior before lashing in a sweet right-footed shot to make it 2-0. Even at that early stage, it looked ominous for Steve Bruceâ€™s side but they got a slice of fortune to gain a foothold in the game. Ahmed Elmohamadyâ€™s pass down the right released Rosenior, whose curling cross was headed by Mangala beyond Caballero. At the opposite end of the field, it would have been considered a fine finish.
Suddenly, Hull looked interested in attacking and a confident ten minutes from the hosts ended with an equaliser from the penalty spot after another Mangala error. This time the Frenchmanâ€™s clumsy challenge brought down HernÃ¡ndez as he chased Mohamed DiamÃ©â€™s chipped pass. The Uruguayan HernÃ¡ndez, a Â£10m signing from Palermo, demanded the ball before calmly sending Caballero the wrong way from 12 yards.
Yaya TourÃ© cracked a shot against the post but was otherwise subdued. The champions needed a spark of inspiration from somewhere and it came with 22 minutes left through Silva. The Spaniard carried the ball from right wing to left, across the face of the Hull defence, before slipping it to Dzeko, whose low, first-time finish squeezed between Rosenior and McGregor and into the corner.
As Hull poured forward looking for another leveller, they always risked being caught on the break and so it proved as Zabaleta reached the byline to cut the ball back for Lampard to finish from inside the six-yard box.
â€œWe had an awful start but it shows the character that weâ€™ve rolled their sleeves up and got back into it,â€ said Bruce. â€œFor a good hour, it could have gone either way. We gave it a right good go, it just didnâ€™t go for us. If youâ€™re champions of this country youâ€™ve got to be a class act and they are.â€ – The Guardian