Toure, Iheanacho lift City – Punch Newspapers

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Kelechi Iheanacho

Manchester City climbed to second place in the Premier League with a workmanlike victory over bottom side Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, BBC Sport reports.

Pep Guardiola’s visitors were far from their free-flowing best en route to their 12th win of the season, but were nevertheless good value for a win that keeps them seven points behind leaders Chelsea.

Yaya Toure’s penalty, awarded after Andrew Robertson’s clumsy challenge on Raheem Sterling, set the visitors on their way before Kelechi Iheanacho added a second from close range and Curtis Davies conceded an own goal in the dying seconds.

Hull have now conceded nine penalties so far in the league this season – four more than any other side.

Guardiola’s players will not earn many style points for this latest win but the final result is all that matters as they bid to keep in touch with Antonio Conte’s flying leaders.

After starting December with back-to-back losses to Chelsea and champions Leicester, Man City now appear to be comfortably back in the winning groove with nine points from nine.

Guardiola decided against employing out-and-out striker Iheanacho from the start in favour of a four-man forward line of Kevin de Bruyne, Sterling, David Silva and Nolito, and they did not click into gear until after the break.

The first warning sign came when De Bruyne hit the post with a cute disguised shot. Sterling then took centre stage with a probing run into the area which proved the turning point, drawing a needless foul from Robertson that presented Toure with a chance from 12 yards that he did not pass up.

Iheanacho, introduced from the bench in the 57th minute, added a simple second after good work by Silva, before more direct running from Sterling forced Davies to turn into his own net in the fourth minute of added time.

The only real scare for Guardiola during the match was the early withdrawal of England defender John Stones through injury, but the manager confirmed after the match that it was just a knock.

 

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