Manch­ester City stunned by Ever­ton


Manch­ester City's fin­ger­tip hold on their Pre­mier League ti­tle was loos­ened fur­ther af­ter a de­mor­al­is­ing 2-0 de­feat at Ever­ton left them hop­ing for a foot­balling mir­a­cle.

Leon Os­man's swerv­ing 32nd-minute shot put Ever­ton in front at a rau­cous Good­i­son Park and, even though the home side were re­duced to 10 men when Steven Pien­aar was red­carded for a rash tackle on the hour, City could not re­ply.

Sub­sti­tute Ni­kica Jelavic sealed vic­tory in stop­page time on the counter- at­tack af­ter be­ing set up by Marouane Fel­laini, to leave City 12 points be­hind lead­ers Manch­ester United, who host joint-bot­tom Read­ing. A week af­ter be­ing booed and heck­led by their own fans in an em­bar­rass­ing 3- 0 FA Cup de­feat at home to strug­gling Wi­gan Ath­letic, Ever­ton pro­duced a gutsy per­for­mance to re­main in con­tention for a top-four fin­ish.

"It was dis­ap­point­ing last week but we showed when we are at the races we are a match for any team," said Os­man, who is in the Eng­land squad for next week's World Cup qual­i­fiers. " It's dif­fi­cult to play with 10 against any team, es­pe­cially the cham­pi­ons, but we kept them at bay." Os­man's strike to break the dead­lock was a spe­cial one. Re­ceiv­ing the ball from Sea­mus Cole­man 25 me­tres from goal, Os­man lashed a shot that flew past Eng­land keeper Joe Hart and bulged the net­ting.

Car­los Tevez went close to an equaliser with a shot just wide of the post but City were miss­ing the drive of Yaya Toure - a late with­drawal be­cause of a mi­graine - in mid­field as Ever­ton dom­i­nated. City showed more de­sire af­ter the break and were press­ing hard for an equaliser when Pien­aar raked his studs down the shin of Javi Gar­cia, who had ear­lier squan­dered a close-range chance.

The in­evitable red card merely raised Ever­ton to greater ef­forts, with sec­ond­choice keeper Jan Mucha ex­em­pli­fy­ing their com­mit­ment with a great dou­ble save from Tevez and James Mil­ner.

City were de­nied a late penalty when Tevez's shot was blocked by the arm of Fel­laini in the penalty area, with the ref­eree rul­ing it had been out­side the box and award­ing only a free kick, which came to noth­ing. Jelavic's stop­page-time ef­fort made it a dark day for City man­ager Roberto Mancini, who de­clined to give his post­match tele­vi­sion in­ter­view, in­stead send­ing out as­sis­tant David Platt. "He's an­gry and he's tak­ing stock of it," Platt said. "He wants to calm down rather than say any­thing that will get him into trou­ble. He's an­gry in gen­eral. "We got out­worked by Ever­ton, but there is no doubt in my mind about the hand­ball. It was three yards in­side the area and though per­haps the per­for­mance didn't de­serve it, that's by the by.

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