Manchester City strain to overcome Hull City
For long periods it looked like the Tigers would earn a point but Alvaro Negredo and Yaya Toure scored second-half goals to earn Manchester City a 2-0 win.
Alvaro Negredo and Yaya Toure scored second-half goals to earn Manchester City a 2-0 win over Hull City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.
For long periods it looked like the Tigers would be the second promoted team to frustrate Manuel Pellegrini's team in the space of a week, following last Sunday's loss at Cardiff City.
But Negredo came off the bench at half-time and headed the home side ahead to score his second goal since joining from Sevilla in a deal worth a reported initial fee of £16.4 million ($25 million, 19 million euros).
Toure curled in a free-kick in the last minute to double the lead and make the scoreline look more comfortable than City's afternoon had been.
Hull have three points from their opening three games, but after encouraging performances on their trips to Chelsea -- where they lost 2-0 on the opening weekend -- and City, Steve Bruce's side will feel bullish about their prospects of avoiding relegation.
Pellegrini had been adamant that he did not need the 3-2 defeat at Cardiff to teach him about the rigours of the Premier League.
But, while his team were undone by two corners in Wales last weekend, even with the return of Matija Nastasic at centre-back, they struggled defensively from the very start against another former Championship side.
A routine ball over the top from Maynor Figueroa caught the City defence flat-footed and sparked panic early on, before Sone Aluko passed up a great chance to put the visitors in front.
The heavily left-footed Joleon Lescott was forced to play as a right-sided centre-back and he was brutally exposed by the movement of Aluko, who broke free, only to clip his shot wide of the post.
The hosts finally managed to apply some of their own pressure, with Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor pulling off a low save to turn Aleksandar Kolarov's header from a Jesus Navas corner around the post.
City were opened up once again when Robbie Brady bent over a cross from the left that Danny Graham volleyed in, only for the effort to be correctly ruled out for offside.
Lescott's powerful header was tipped over the bar by McGregor, before Robert Koren's drive flew just wide at the other end as Hull continued to make a real contest of it.
As City struggled to make headway, Toure headed over from a Navas corner shortly before half-time.
Pellegrini introduced Negredo for Edin Dzeko at the interval and the Spaniard passed up a fine opportunity less than three minutes after coming on.
He was picked out by a cross from fellow Spaniard Silva but headed wide from a good position.
Hull might have been tempted to become less adventurous, but they produced another opening when Brady pressured Pablo Zabaleta into a poor defensive header and Graham just missed the target with a shot on the turn.
Negredo carved Hull's defence open with a flick into the path of Silva, but Navas prodded wide from the winger's cross.
A neat free-kick from Fernandinho saw Lescott have a header deflected over and the defender failed to make decent contact with the ball after being picked out by Silva from the corner that followed.
But mid-way through the second half, the breakthrough finally arrived when Zabaleta whipped in a cross from the right and the unmarked Negredo steered a header past McGregor.
Graham headed straight into the ground from George Boyd's cross as Hull went close to a late equaliser, but in the final minute Toure bent in an almost exact replica of his free-kick in the 4-0 win over Newcastle United to make the scoreline look even more comfortable.