Barclays Premier League: Norwich City 1, Manchester City 6
14:54 14 April 2012
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Carlos Tevez scored a Premier League hat-trick for title-chasing Manchester City as Norwich City were hit for six - brought down to earth with a bump after their Easter Monday win at Tottenham.
Argentinians enjoyed a memorable afternoon with Sergio Aguero also scoring twice in the day’s televised early kick-off at Carrow Road.
A stoppage time goal by substitute Adam Johnson completed the rout as the Blues won by an even bigger margin than their 5-1 success at the Etihad Stadium in December.
Tevez, Manchester’s prodigal son, gave his side the lead with a vicious swerving shot after 18 minutes, after the Canaries had started brightly, Grant Holt having a header cleared off the line.
Aguero made it 2-0 nine minutes later after a Tevez backheel, but after a double change at half-time, Paul Lambert’s men briefly threatened a revival.
Andrew Surman reduced the arrears after 51 minutes and Aaron Wilbraham was denied by a Gareth Barry block, but three goals in the space of seven minutes demolished the Canaries.
Tevez nodded the third after 73 minutes, Aguero scored a superb solo effort two minutes later and Tevez completed his hat-trick after pouncing on a bad backpass by Ryan Bennett.
Johnson’s goal in injury time merely rubbed salt in Norwich’s wounds and completed the biggest defeat of Lambert’s reign.
Lambert took the rare but not entirely surprising step of naming an unchanged team after the 2-1 victory at Tottenham on Easter Monday.
On-loan full-back Kyle Naughton, who was ineligible to play against Spurs, returned to the substitutes’ bench, as did David Fox, with Andrew Crofts and Leon Barnett dropping out of the 18 on duty at White Hart Lane.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini made one change after the 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, bringing in Pablo Zabaleta for Micah Richards, who was on the bench.
Midfielder Yaya Toure recovered from a knee injury but had to settle for a place among the substitutes.
Manchester City’s first corner, from Silva, posed problems when it was flicked on by Barry but hooked clear in the six-yard box.
Pilkington was not too far away from opening the scoring after little more than four minutes when he burst clear on the left and swept inside Nasri but rolled his shot a couple of feet past the far post as Howson arrived in the six-yard box.
Ruddy kept the Canaries on terms as the Blues counter-attacked, Tevez setting up Silva for a close-range effort that the keeper beat away superbly.
With nine minutes gone, Tevez was shown the first yellow card when he went down over Ryan Bennett’s foot and referee Foy adjudged it a dive.
There was another penalty shout when Aguero went down under Pilkington’s challenge but the official was unimpressed and as the Canaries broke, Elliott Bennett brought Hart into action with a long-range effort.
Elliott Bennett forced the Canaries’ second corner and when it was cleared, Bradley Johnson’s follow-up was deflected wide for another flag-kick. This time Zabaleta’s header went up in the air and as it dropped, Holt got in a header that Lescott cleared off the line with Hart beaten – though the ’keeper claimed he was impeded by Wilbraham.
With 18 minutes gone, however, the Blues took the lead with a spectacular goal by Tevez. Ward left Bradley Johnson a fraction short with a pass and the midfielder was beaten by Silva, who combined with Aguero to set up Tevez for a shot that swerved viciously past the stunned Ruddy.
The goal took the sting out of what had been an excellent period from the Canaries and inspired Tevez to try his luck with two more shots from a distance, both off target.
It was 2-0, however, after 27 minutes when Aguero struck his 27th goal of the season. He played a one-two with Tevez, whose perfect backheel set him up for a powerful rising shot that gave Ruddy no chance.
Zabaleta went down needing treatment after a challenge by Wilbraham and when play resumed, Norwich looked bright.
A great ball by Ward set up Russell Martin for a cross that produced a fine first-time effort from Holt, swivelling to shoot right-footed, but Hart was right behind it.
Then Wilbraham brought Hart into action again with a 20-yard shot from Ryan Bennett’s pass.
Nasri was booked for a foul on Elliott Bennett, though some time after referee Foy had played the advantage rather than give the free-kick.
In first-half stoppage time, Elliott Bennett swung in another dangerous cross but company got back to head clear.
• Half-time: Norwich City 0, Manchester City 2
There was a double change at the interval for the Canaries when Hoolahan and Surman replaced Johnson and Pilkington as part of a switch from 4-4-2 to a diamond formation with Howson in front of the back four and Hoolahan playing behind the strikers.
Five minutes after the break, good work by Hoolahan set up Holt for a shot that he put just wide, but less than a minute later, substitute Surman brought the Canaries back into the game with a well-taken goal.
Hoolahan set up Drury for a cross from the left and as Hart punched away under pressure from Wilbraham, Surman chested the ball down and volleyed home right-footed.
A cross from Russell Martin almost provided a chance for Holt and Norwich, buoyed by the goal, threatened again when Ward headed wide from Surman’s cross.
Ruddy produced a fine save from Aguero when the goalscorer rode Drury’s challenge and let fly with a powerful right-foot shot.
Ryan Bennett was booked for stopping Tevez in full flight and the Canaries were grateful to Ruddy again when he blocked Zabaleta’s shot with his feet.
Barry was lucky to escape a booking for bundling Hoolahan to the ground but Hoolahan wasted the free-kick by firing it into the side netting, trying to catch out Hart.
The Blues made their first change after 63 minutes with Yaya Toure replacing Nasri.
There was a delay while Aguero received treatment and both sides took a welcome drinks break.
When play resumed, Hoolahan’s run set up a great chance for Wilbraham, who was denied by a sliding block by Barry.
It was Wilbraham’s last contribution as he made way for Morison midway through the half.
Ruddy tipped over a powerful shot by Zabaleta and then the keeper confidently claimed Silva’s corner.
Morison fired over from long range from another Hoolahan pass but Manchester City delivered a killer goal in the 73rd minute when Tevez struck again.
Yaya Toure’s powerful low drive was blocked by Ruddy but looped into the air, where Tevez beat Ryan Bennett to nod home.
Within two minutes, it was 4-1 thanks to a superb solo goal from Aguero.
Taking possession just inside the Norwich half he weaved his way just inside the penalty area and curled a perfect right-foot shot out of reach of Ruddy.
Hart had to palm away a cross from Morison from just under the bar as Norwich tried to respond, but Lescott was on hand to nod the ball back to the ’keeper.
The demolition job was complete on 80 minutes when Tevez completed his hat-trick after an awful error by Ryan Bennett. Bennett’s attempted backpass fell well short of Ruddy and Tevez pounced, rounding the keeper to score a simple goal.
Holt was denied by a fine save by Hart as he tried to reduce the arrears.
Substitute Adam Johnson, on for Tevez, struck the bar in the final minute in an attempt to make it 6-1.
As the game entered stoppage time, Ageuro, still seeking a hat-trick, struck the foot of the post.
Ryan Bennett then made a great sliding challenge on Richards to stop him increasing the lead.
But there was no escape when Clichy set up Adam Johnson for the sixth before the whistle.
• Result: Norwich City 1, Manchester City 6
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ryan Bennett, Ward, Drury; Elliott Bennett, Howson, Bradley Johnson (Hoolahan, 45), Pilkington (Surman, 45); Holt, Wilbraham (Morison, 68). Subs (not used): Steer, Naughton, Fox, Jackson.
• Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Silva (Adam Johnson, 76), De Jong, Barry, Nasri (Yaya Toure, 63); Aguero, Tevez (Richards, 80). Subs (not used): Pantilimon, Richards, Kolarov, Milner, Dzeko.
• Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
• Attendance: 26,812
• Goals: Norwich: Surman (51). Manchester City: Tevez (18, 73, 80), Aguero (27, 75), Adam Johnson (90)
• Bookings: Norwich: Ryan Bennett (59). Manchester City: Tevez (9), Nasri (42)