Toure brace at Newcastle keeps United at bay

Newcastle 0 Man City 2

Yaya Toure blasted Manchester City to within touching distance of the Barclays Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Newcastle.

The Ivory Coast international struck twice in the final 20 minutes of a pulsating contest to secure three precious points and send City into next Sunday's final-day clash with QPR in pole position to claim their first title in 44 years.

City's last triumph in 1968 came courtesy of a 4-3 win at St James' Park, and today's victory could prove almost as pivotal.

However, it remained in doubt right until the final stages as the Magpies fought to keep alive their dreams of Champions League qualification.

It was not until Toure blasted a 70th-minute shot past goalkeeper Tim Krul that City got their noses in front, and although both he and Sergio Aguero wasted further chances to cement the win, Toure made sure at the death with a simple tap-in.

Roberto Mancini's players celebrated just as lustily as their fans high in the stand behind Krul's goal after the final whistle with the promised land tantalisingly close.

City arrived knowing victory was a must if they are to pip arch-rivals United to the title, while their hosts ran out having already exceeded their wildest expectations and enjoying the luxury of a shot to nothing with a Champions League place firmly in their sights.

With the vast majority of a raucous crowd of 52,389 behind them, the Magpies flew out of the blocks to pin the visitors back inside their own half, although without ever looking like troubling keeper Joe Hart.

But as the half wore on, City's class and guile saw them gradually ease into a position of dominance.

With Carlos Tevez and David Silva targeting right-back James Perch, playing in yet another role with Danny Simpson injured, they threatened to open the scoring on several occasions before the break.

That they did not was testament to Krul and the stubborn refusal of the men in front of him to concede.

Perch and Yohan Cabaye blocked shots from Samir Nasri and Toure in quick succession and Krul produced excellent saves to deny first Silva and then Aguero from close range inside the opening 17 minutes with Mancini's men flexing their muscles.

Newcastle were sinking ever deeper towards their own goalline in an effort to keep City at bay, but from somewhere, they found the strength to first stem the tide, and then turn it in their direction.

Demba Ba, without a goal in 12 games, sent a 29th-minute shot on the turn just over after Hatem Ben Arfa's spring-heeled run down the right and then saw another snapshot blocked by Gael Clichy before Ben Arfa forced a superb diving save from Hart from the rebound.

Ba then headed over from Ben Arfa's 40th-minute cross after good work from Jonas Gutierrez with a breathless contest showing no sign of abating.

However, it took heroic blocks from first Fabricio Coloccini and then Davide Santon to keep out Gareth Barry four minutes before the break.

Krul's clean sheet was in peril once again within seven minutes of the restart when Perch tripped Tevez after the Argentinian had wriggled away from him, but Toure's free-kick flew harmlessly over the bar.

Such was Newcastle's determination not to concede that winger Gutierrez turned up inside his own penalty area to head Silva's 53rd-minute cross clear, and Krul had to make a smart save from Tevez's snapshot from distance.

But with the pace of Ben Arfa and Cisse worrying City on the break, Newcastle not only managed to keep them out, but to press them back.

Mancini decided the time for change had arrived and with 62 minutes gone, replaced Nasri with Nigel de Jong, the man whose tackle last season left Ben Arfa with a double leg fracture, a fact which had obviously not been forgotten by the home fans.

Ben Arfa almost provided the Dutchman with the perfect welcome within three minutes when, after being picked out by Ba, he twisted and turned his way in on goal, only to screw his right-foot shot wide.

De Jong's arrival allowed Toure to push further forward, and the move paid dividends with 20 minutes remaining.

Seconds after Edin Dzeko had replaced Tevez, Toure exchanged passes with Aguero 25 yards out and smashed a dipping right-foot shot past Krul and into the bottom corner.

It should have been all over within five minutes when Silva played in Aguero over the top, but with just Krul to beat, he side-footed wide.

Cisse might have claimed a point with a close-range header from substitute Shola Ameobi's 79th-minute cross, but for once, he failed to hit the target.

Toure should have made sure six minutes from time, but fell over as he attempted to round Krul, who managed to touch over Aguero's follow-up.

But the powerhouse midfielder wrapped up the points with a minute remaining when he accepted Clichy's pass six yards out and beat Krul to end Newcastle's hopes of a fightback.

PA

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice