Man City tighten grasp on fourth

Manchester City will have an eye on third position in the Premier League after a vital win against Blackburn.

 Edin Dzeko scores a goal that makes both his and Manchester City’s future look much brighter [GALLO/GETTY] 

Manchester City have bolstered their Champions League ambitions after a crucial 1-0 victory at Blackburn on Monday.

City remain in fourth position – the final Champions League spot – but are now four points clear of Tottenham in fifth and only five points behind Arsenal in third.

Super sub

The match’s deciding goal came from substitute Edin Dzeko, who followed in Fernando Torres’s footsteps, by breaking his Premier League duck.

The Bosnian striker cost Manchester City £27.5 million after his move from Wolfsburg in January. Dzeko had failed to score in nine appearances for City, however, it took him under three minutes to make an impression against Blackburn.

When teammate David Silva’s shot was only partially blocked by Blackburn defender Phil Jones in the 75th minute, Dzeko slammed the ball into the net with his less favored right foot.

“Sometimes it’s difficult. I’m not the first who didn’t make the best start, but I’m happy because I scored today and helped the team,” Dzeko said.

“Now we have to look at the future. Today was very good – it is a new beginning for me and for City.”

Stuttering to victory

Man City were by no means convincing in their win over Blackburn, often lacking the killer instinct in front of goal. Mancini’s team dominated the first twenty minutes but their backs were against the wall for large periods of the second half.

Blackburn pushed forward but never seriously troubled Joe Hart in goal despite a number of free-kicks. City were lucky not to have given away a first-half penalty when Jason Roberts was challenged by Vincent Kompany in a decision criticised by Blackburn manager Steve Kean.

“There was contact, Jason was saying he wanted to go through and finish,” Kean said. “We also thought we had a late shout with Niko Kalinic.”

“We’re bitterly disappointed, we gave it a right go. We’re gutted we didn’t get anything tonight but if we play like that, we’ve got a great chance (of staying up).”

The defeat leaves Blackburn hovering just above the relegation zone, with only Blackpool and a point, between them and the drop zone. Only three points separate Blackburn in 16th position with West Ham who lie at the foot of the table.

Roberto Mancini is now only a few games away from proving his critics wrong. With a FA Cup final to look forward to and the chance to finish in third position, his future at City looks much more secure than it did a couple of weeks ago.

And the wait continues

In the Championship, QPR will have to wait another week to secure Premier League football.

Their promotion party was put on ice after Hull grabbed a late draw on Monday and Norwich beat Derby. However, QPR now only need a point to be sure of going up.

Third-placed Cardiff could still catch the leaders, but QPR have a greater goal difference by 13. Cardiff’s 1-0 victory at Preston made their opponents the first team to be relegated from the Championship.

Source: News Agencies