Manchester City one game from glory as Yaya Touré delivers in style

Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 2

St James' Park

At the end of the game, even Roberto Mancini could not stop himself walking on to the pitch and hugging some of the players for whom he represents, for most of the time, a rather distant and unyielding authority figure. He even seemed to be having a laugh and a joke with Samir Nasri as the two of them walked off down the St James' Park tunnel.

By the time he had composed himself for his post-match press conference, however, Mancini was back in the mode of City's chief denier.

Would he be watching Manchester United play Swansea on television? No, he wanted to go home. Were Manchester City the favourites for the title now? Maybe. How did it feel to be standing on the brink of history? He would get back to us all come next Sunday evening.

But however much Mancini chooses to deny it, the City fans who walk down Joe Mercer Way in six days' time will believe that they are heading towards a historic point in their club's history. The "Temple of Doom", as Sir Alex Ferguson once called their stadium, is preparing to welcome City's first title in 44 years and, perhaps, herald a change in English football that will last much longer than what promises to be one big blue day in Manchester.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. City go into the final weekend of the season with a goal difference eight superior to United, knowing that they only have to match their old rivals' result to win the title. They face a Queen's Park Rangers team managed by Mark Hughes, still fighting for their Premier League status after yesterday's win over Stoke. But City do so at home, where they have dropped only two points all season and have not lost in the league since December 2010.

United must go to Sunderland, the only team to have got a point at the Etihad all season, as they attempt to keep pace with City. City might secretly have feared a barrage of United goals yesterday to change the goal difference situation but the advantage – slender but significant – belongs to City.

Bitter experience will tell them they have found more than one way to concede a winning position in the past. Perhaps the old ways are changing at last. The condition that Joe Royle once described as "City-itis", the innate capacity to blow it, was a feature of their past but yesterday they took the penultimate step towards vanquishing it for ever.

With 20 minutes of the game left and Mancini reshuffling his team dramatically, other sides might have lost their nerve. Plenty of teams have run United close in the title race over the years but not quite cleared the final hurdle. Yesterday City found it from somewhere to turn this game, against one of the best teams in the division, when they might just have faded away and handed the advantage back to United.

Their goals came from Yaya Touré, the man whose transfer from Barcelona in 2010 forced Sheikh Mansour to take Premier League wages into another realm, and who embodied the very best of City yesterday. He began the game in central midfield alongside Gareth Barry and was then pushed up behind Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, later replaced by Edin Dzeko, from where he scored the two goals that won the game.

Touré was well-rewarded for leaving what was then the best team in Europe but he looked like a player completely committed to the cause yesterday. On a booking and having been asked by Mancini to push on and win the game, this great, rampaging giant of a midfielder summoned up the spirit and delivered the goods.

This was not a bad performance from Newcastle, it was just that for much of the first half they were simply not in the game. Hatem Ben Arfa forced a fine save out of Joe Hart with 11 minutes of the half played but, when Newcastle cleared two Barry shots from inside their goalmouth at the end of the first half, you had the feeling that this might be one win too far.

What is it that great title-winning teams have? Brian Kidd, alongside Mancini on the City bench, knows that from his days with Ferguson, especially from that moment 19 years ago when he sank to his knees on the Old Trafford turf as United beat Sheffield Wednesday to win their first Premier League title. Perhaps he will have a similar moment at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. He is developing a habit of being present at seminal moments in Manchester's football history.

Great title-winning teams have the wherewithal to find a goal from somewhere. That was the case on 70 minutes yesterday when Touré exchanged passes with Aguero and curled his shot just inside Tim Krul's left post. He should have scored another on 86 minutes when Aguero played him through on goal and, in the process of dribbling round Krul, the City midfielder simply toppled over.

The heart-in-mouth moment for Newcastle came with two minutes of normal time left when the substitute Shola Ameobi had a clear shot at goal. It was blocked by Micah Richards, only introduced to the game in place of David Silva three minutes earlier. It was the kind of moment upon which games are won and lost, and a minute later City had scored their second.

By then they had a five-man defence, but when Aguero stole the ball from Yohan Cabaye in midfield with a minute remaining he was accompanied on the break by De Jong, Gaël Clichy and Touré. The ball was passed in that sequence before Touré clipped it past Krul from close range.

Next week, this modern-day City will face a QPR staff and team made up of the City of the past: the likes of Hughes, Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha. It will be a good reminder of how far Manini's team have come – but there will be no better symbol of that than if they have the Premier League trophy to lift at the end of the day.

Match facts

Newcastle: KRUL 6/10; PERCH 5; COLOCCINI 7; WILLIAMSON 6; SANTON 6; BEN ARFA 6; TIOTE 5; CABAYE 6; GUTIERREZ 6; CISSE 5; BA 6

Man City: HART 7; CLICHY 7; LESCOTT 7; KOMPANY 8; ZABALETA 6; SILVA 7; BARRY 7; Y TOURE 8; NASRI 6; AGUERO 6; TEVEZ 6

Scorer. Man City: Y Touré 70, 89

Substitutes: Newcastle United Ferguson (Perch, 73), Shola Ameobi (Ben Arfa, 73), R Taylor (Tioté, 82). Manchester City De Jong 6 (Nasri, 62), Dzeko 6 (Tevez, 70), Richards (Silva, 85). Booked: Newcastle Ben Arfa, Tioté, Perch, Ferguson. Man City Barry, Y Touré, Zabaleta.

Man of the match Y Touré. Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Newcastle 46% Man City 54%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 9 Man City 12.

Referee H Webb (South Yorkshire). Attendance 52,389.

Remaining games Tonight Bl'burn v Wigan.

T'rrow Liverpool v Chelsea. Sunday Chelsea v Bl'burn, Everton v Newcastle, Man City v QPR, Norwich v Aston Villa, Stoke v Bolton, Sund-erland v Man Utd, Swansea v Liverpool, Totten-ham v Fulham, WBA v Arsenal, Wigan v Wolves.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments