Aston Villa remain a point away from Premier League safety after falling to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City at Villa Park despite a spirited performance.
The Citizens took advantage of the home side’s forward surges to break on the counter-attack, but could only put away one of their chances as the home side persistently pressured Roberto Mancini’s men until the final moments, proving they are prepared to fight to escape the drop.
Argentine international Carlos Tevez opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time after a lively opening 45 minutes from both teams, and though Villa gave their all in a plucky display it was not enough to break down the stubborn City defence.
There were also further injury woes for City’s young England international Jack Rodwell, who hobbled off after 25 minutes with a hamstring problem.
The former Everton man was replaced by Edin Dzeko who was involved in the visitors’ only goal, as the Bosnian took advantage of a Ciaran Clark slip to snatch possession and feed in Tevez who coolly slotted home.
Villa refused to lie down however and continued to press the visitors throughout the game, but they weren’t strong enough in the final-third as they were frustrated by the Citizens’ back four.
Their best chance came in the first-half through Christian Benteke, whose powerful header was well cleared off the line by Tevez, while Andreas Weimann wasted a glorious chance with 10 minutes to play when he smashed a volley into the stands from inside the box.
And City would have increased the deficit if it weren’t for a super save by Brad Guzan, putting out a strong hand to turn a stinging Pablo Zabaleta drive onto the post, as well as a goal line clearance from Mathew Lowton, while Dzeko had a goal disallowed for offside.
Encouraging signs for Paul Lambert as Villa march on in their fight to escape the clutches of top-flight relegation, while the blue half of Manchester still have 12 points to make up on their red rivals at the other end of the table.