Manchester City cruise to 3-0 win over Fulham

Published:

MANCHESTER, England (AP) -- Manchester City restored its three-point advantage at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Argentina international Sergio Aguero scored the opening goal from the penalty spot after nine minutes, his 15th league goal of the season. Just before the half-hour, City doubled their lead when Adam Johnson's far post shot deflected into the goal off Fulham defender Chris Baird.

City were seeking to place pressure on defending champions Manchester United, who had drawn level with them at the top of the table in midweek and are scheduled to play Chelsea on Sunday.

And it proved to be a comfortable victory when striker Edin Dzeko scored the third goal after 72 minutes.

A period of steady pressure featuring a pair of wayward shots from Dzeko, culminated in City taking the early lead.

Aguero ran past Philippe Senderos far too easily before passing to Johnson who was tripped by Baird in the area. Aguero converted the spot kick with a clinical shot into the top right-hand corner.

Dzeko turned an Aleksandar Kolarov shot the wrong side of the post and Johnson might have had a second penalty when Baird, again, appeared to trip the England winger.

Aguero and Johnson also came close with long distance shots as City's England goalkeeper, Joe Hart, was finally called into action with a routine stop from Simon Davies and a dive to cover a curling Damien Duff shot.

But the outcome of the game appeared to be settled when Kolarov's left-wing cross was flicked on at the near post by Aguero and met by Johnson. His powerful shot deflected off Baird and beat Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.

Schwarzer had to save smartly to keep the scoreline respectable, first from his own defender Senderos then from Aguero but Fulham's best hope appeared to lie in the game being abandoned as the snowfall worsened.

Play was halted twice in the second half to allow groundstaff to clear snow from the pitch markings.

Hart subsequently needed two attempts to smother shots from Stephen Kelly and a Baird free-kick after initially fumbling the ball in the icy conditions.

But City pushed on and Fulham required desperate defending to block attempts from Aguero and Silva before Dzeko scored City's third goal.

Aguero again created the goal, racing past Senderos into the Fulham area where he squared the ball for Dzeko to sweep home from 12 yards.

Kolarov and Mousa Dembele were cautioned for an altercation and there was momentary, late anxiety for the league leaders when Bryan Ruiz's corner struck Dzeko and the City post and a Duff shot was well saved by the diving Hart.