Toure and Tevez strike as City cling to hope

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:50pm EST
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By Sonia Oxley

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Second-half goals by Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez propelled Manchester City to a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday that gave a clear message they will not give up on their fading hopes of retaining the Premier League crown.

Trailing Manchester United by 15 points at kickoff, defeat might have led even the most optimistic fan to concede the title race was over, but helped by a great save from Joe Hart of a Frank Lampard penalty the dream lives on.

City spent most of the first half, and indeed much of the match, camped in the Chelsea half thanks to a dominant midfield display but despite many chances they had to wait until the 63rd minute for Toure's sweetly-struck opener into the bottom right.

Substitute Tevez made sure of the three points with a right-footed missile five minutes from time as City put behind them a run of three league games without a win to stand on 56 points from 27 games, seven ahead of third-placed Chelsea.

"I think we deserved to win because we played well, maybe we could have scored more goals," City manager Roberto Mancini, who has faced media speculation over his future this week but who enjoyed hearing his name sung by fans, told a news conference.

Defeat is likely to add further pressure on Chelsea counterpart Rafael Benitez, who by contrast is unpopular among fans, and leaves them more likely to be fighting it out for a top-four finish than the runners-up spot.

In the day's only other Premier League game, Newcastle United beat relegation rivals Southampton 4-2 at home to move six points clear of danger.

On a chilly afternoon on the blue side of Manchester, City were in no doubt as to what would need to be done to keep the title race interesting for a little longer.   Continued...

Manchester City's Jack Rodwell (R) challenges Chelsea's Gary Cahill during their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples