Man City clinched automatic qualification to the Champions League group stages with a 2-0 win at Bolton.
Lescott and Dzeko net vital victory for Mancini's menManchester City clinched automatic qualification to the Champions League group stages by finishing third in the Premier League after a 2-0 win at Bolton. Roberto Mancini's men, needing to match Arsenal's result at Fulham to secure a podium finish, went ahead through Joleon Lescott's fortunate header on the stroke of half-time. And substitute Edin Dzeko completed City's win by firing home from close range just seconds after entering the action midway through the second period. Bolton matched their visitors for much of the final day encounter as they looked to end Owen Coyle's first full season in charge by finishing in the top half. But the home side, who ended with 10 men after Daniel Sturridge's late dismissal, failed to take the opportunities they managed to create. Skipper Kevin Davies missed two gilt-edged first-half headers before City took control to seal their first top-three finish in the top flight since 1977. It was just the result City were looking for and capped a superb season with the FA Cup now installed in their trophy cabinet.
BreakthroughCity were forced to make a late change with Pablo Zabaleta replacing Micah Richards who was apparently injured in the warm-up. They almost made the breakthrough in the fourth minute when David Silva cut the ball back into the path of Carlos Tevez. The Argentina striker rattled in a shot from close range but it was blocked by Zat Knight. Bolton responded five minutes later with Vincent Kompany being pulled back for a challenge on Sturridge. Chung-Yong Lee picked out Gary Cahill only for the defender to send the header wide. The home side kept up the pressure when Kevin Davies saw his effort shave the post after a corner from Lee. City were again forced on the back foot in the 19th minute when Sturridge released Galatasaray-bound Johan Elmander and he thumped in a shot that was superbly turned over the bar by goalkeeper Joe Hart. Hart then reacted quickly to turn away a header from Kevin Davies in a good spell of pressure by the home side. However, City should have taken the lead in the 33rd minute when Dedryck Boyata delivered a superb ball to the back post.
MomentumGareth Barry found himself unmarked but only succeeded in sending his header against the bar. City suddenly had the momentum and Tevez saw his shot blocked after a galloping run by Yaya Toure in the 38th minute. The ball broke to Silva only six yards out but he sent his shot high into the crowd. The visitors eventually made the breakthrough in the 43rd minute from a set piece. Adam Johnson swung in a corner and Lescott delivered a looping header over goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net. Sturridge saw his effort go the wrong side of the post in the 51st minute but back came City. Toure and Silva linked up only for the Spanish forward to find Jaaskelainen's body with his shot. Mancini made his first change in the 61st minute with Dzeko replacing Johnson. The Bosnian made an instant impact putting City 2-0 ahead a minute later after Barry played the ball into the area.
MuddleGary Cahill got in a terrible muddle and failed to make a routine clearance, leaving Dzeko to smash the ball home for only his second league goal since arriving from Wolfsburg in January. City maintained the momentum and Tevez wriggled his way into the area but his shot was blocked. Elmander was given a round of applause by the home fans when he came off in the 71st minute with Tamir Cohen given a run-out. Bolton were struggling to get any kind of a foothold in the game and found themselves reduced to 10 men four minutes from time. Former City striker Sturridge, on loan from Chelsea, was given a straight red card for a challenge on Dzeko. It completed a miserable day for the home side who slumped to a fifth successive defeat after a bright start to the campaign.
|Bolton Wanderers||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||7|
|7||Shots off Target||8|