x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Tevez leads City fightback to deny Bolton victory

Carlos Tevez showed he has the goals to match his tireless work-rate after his double rescued Manchester City from a second defeat of the season.

BOLTON // Carlos Tevez showed he has the goals to match his tireless work-rate after his double rescued Manchester City from a second defeat of the season, although the result left them with an unenviable record of eight draws from their last nine league games. The Argentine's brace made it four goals in three games and resurrected City after Ivan Klasnic's double looked to have given struggling Bolton their first league win in six games.

On the eve of this game Gary Megson was given the vote of confidence by his Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside. That is often dreaded by managers with dismissal usually soon to follow. But Megson was hailed as a man who could battle when "muck and bullets" were being thrown at him and his side portrayed those characteristics. Their early pressure paid off in the 11th minute following good work down the left. Kevin Davies released Matt Taylor and his cross dropped to Chung-Yong Lee in space. His shot took a deflection off Sylvinho and fell to an offside-looking Klasnic, who could not fail to score from two yards out.

Tamir Cohen hooked over from close range two minutes later, but the midfielder then played an unfortunate part in City's equaliser. Stephen Ireland, on for the injured Shaun Wright-Phillips, swung a superb cross-field ball to Craig Bellamy on the left and when his cross fell invitingly to Tevez on the edge of the box, his shot struck Cohen and deflected over the diving Jussi Jaaskelainen. With the Argentine seeing more of the ball, City's threat increased.

What followed before the break, though, were two moments of brilliance and contrasting styles. Gary Cahill beautifully curled a 20-yard shot past Shay Given at one end before City again levelled with a terrific team effort in injury time. Precise passing ended with Bellamy setting up Micah Richards, marauding forward from right-back, to lash a shot and beat Jaaskelainen at his near post. It would have been greedy to expect a repeat of the frenetic first-half action, but defensive failings left both sides under pressure.

Another goal duly came in the 53rd minute. Taylor bravely flicked on Paul Robinson's cross and Klasnic was there to fire in his second. City were dealt a blow in the 64th minute when Craig Bellamy was sent-off, the referee brandishing a second yellow card believing the Welshman had made a meal of a challenge from Robinson. But City's salvation came in the shape of Tevez in the 77th minute which was no less than their battling efforts deserved.

akhan@thenational.ae