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Premier League

Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 match report: Newcastle lose their cool after Cheick Tioté denied wonder goal as City go top

The Newcastle midfielder saw his 'equaliser' ruled out for offside

Cheick Tioté doesn’t score many goals, and when he does, they are usually spectacular. The Newcastle midfielder looked to have added to his collection of memorable appearances on the scoresheet, and had he been allowed to do so, it would have been a rather more low-key afternoon for everyone concerned.

Instead, after a Yohan Cabaye corner just after the half-hour fell invitingly for the Ivorian, stood 25 yards out,  Tioté’s sublime first-time finish past Joe Hart sparked not just the mother of all controversies, but the father and half the family, too.

As Tioté jumped into the arms of John Carver, the Newcastle assistant manager, to celebrate on the sidelines, Manchester City’s players turned their attention to Stephen Child, the assistant referee, to point out, quite rightly, that no fewer than three Newcastle players had been in an offside position as the ball raked the inside of the net.

Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson were adjacent, but the third, Yoan Gouffran,  lurking inside the six-yard box, had to evade the path of the shot on its way in. If that’s not interfering with play, then it’s difficult to define what exactly is. Hanging from the crossbar, perhaps?

After Mike Jones consulted Child, who appeared to ask if Gouffran had applied a touch to the ball, to which the referee apparently, incorrectly, answered in the affirmative, the officials agreed the effort should be chalked off. The way they came to the decision might have been a little awry, but their conclusion, nevertheless, was correct.

Much of the sympathy with Tioté appeared to lie in the fact that such a stunning strike hadn’t been allowed to stand, Gary Lineker among those guilty of such a myopic view with a post on Twitter, but the aesthetic value of the goal was neither here nor there.

Manchester City's Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko (L) celebrates after scoring the opening goal

It looked unlikely that a single incident would prove so pivotal when City took an eighth-minute lead as they threatened to steamroller opponents they have now beaten 10 times in succession, albeit it at the cost of collateral damage in the shape of injuries to goalscorer Edin Dzeko, Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri – the latter with a suspected knee ligament problem after an awful challenge from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa which earned only a caution – that saw all three substituted during the second half.

The opening goal arrived as David Silva evaded the attentions of Vurnon Anita with an effortless turn near halfway to send Aleksandar Kolarov free down the left. The defender didn’t have to break stride to take the pass, and progressed before delivering an inviting low cross which was met by Dzeko at the near post, the forward registering a 15th goal this term with a sweet first-time finish that gave Tim Krul little chance. City’s 93rd goal of the campaign, in just their 33rd game, saw them surpass their goal output for last season in its entirety.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew (2-L) gestures towards Referee Mike Jones (2-R) as they leave the pitch at half time

  They ought to have added to that tally before the break, Alvaro Negredo narrowly failing to reach another low Kolarov centre with the goal gaping, before the prolific City forward headed onto the roof of the net after Silva and Nasri worked space for the former to cross from a short corner.

Newcastle replied as Cabaye forced Hart into a fine fingertip save with a stinging half-volley from a narrow angle after reacting first to a cross from Yanga-Mbiwa 12 minutes before the break. From the resulting corner, all hell broke loose when Tioté’s celebrations quickly turned to frustration and swiftly to recrimination.

The managers exchanged barbs from the safety of their adjacent technical areas, the disagreements spilling over in the wake of the half-time whistle, as the players’ tunnel became a place to settle scores away from prying eyes or cameras, where in the process derogatory comments were aimed at Manuel Pellegrini over his age. 

Cabaye twice went close to an equaliser from long range as the second half wore on, forcing Hart into a fine save low to his right, before sending a subsequent effort narrowly over. The Manchester City goalkeeper also saved well with his feet to deny Loïc Rémy.

However, Newcastle’s sense of injustice seemed to dissipate as fatigue took hold and their attacking verve slackened. City substitute Jesus Navas almost doubled the advantage in the final five minutes with a header that beat Krul but bounced back off the crossbar.

Steven Taylor cleared off the line from Negredo to ensure the result remained in doubt until the fifth of seven minutes of stoppage time, when Negredo belatedly scored City’s second goal. It arrived after a fine Kolarov block to deny Hatem Ben Arfa, substitute James Milner orchestrating a swift counter-attack that inevitably caught the hosts short of numbers.

Negredo was put through and saw his first shot blocked by Krul, only for the bounce to favour the forward, who registered his 19th goal of the season by rolling the ball into an empty net to leave his side unbeaten in 16 games and back on the summit of the Premier League.

Of those 16 games, 14 have been victories, underlining  City’s status as the team to beat in the closing four months of the season.

Booked: Newcastle Sissoko, Cabaye, Tioté, Yanga-Mbiwa. Man City Fernandinho, Zabaleta.

Man of the match Negredo.

Match rating 8/10.

Possession Newcastle 54% Man City 46%.

Attempts on target Newcastle 5 Man City 6.

Referee M Jones (Cheshire).

Att 49,423