Mar 22, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
5-0
Fulham
Toure (26' pen., 54' pen., 65'), Fernandinho (84'), Demichelis (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Amorebieta (26'), Sidwell (64'), Roberts (65'), Holtby (90')
Amorebieta (53')

Live Commentary: Manchester City 5-0 Fulham - as it happened

Manchester City's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on ahead of the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Manchester City at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on February 8, 2014
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City beat Fulham 5-0.

Saturday's Premier League clash at the Etihad pitted title-chasers Manchester City against basement outfit Fulham.

The home side led 1-0 at the interval courtesy of a cool penalty from skipper Yaya Toure.

Toure converted his second from the penalty spot early in the second period after Fernando Amorebieta had brought down David Silva inside the box - with the centre-back dismissed from play for the rash challenge.

Toure completed his hat-trick after 65 minutes with an effort from distance, before Fernandinho and Martin Demichelis both netted in the latter stages.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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2.01pmAfternoon all! Our Premier League coverage on Sports Mole continues as Manchester City welcome Fulham to the Etihad. The home side are currently fourth in the table, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but they have four games in hand over the Blues. Fulham, meanwhile, remain rooted to the bottom of the division, four points from safety with eight games to play.

2.04pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two teams, City have won four of the last five matches, with the further fixture ending in a draw. As mentioned, the corresponding match last season ended in a 2-0 home win, while City were 4-2 winners when they travelled to Craven Cottage earlier in the campaign.

2.07pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: City are without their suspended skipper Vincent Kompany this afternoon, meaning that England centre-back Joleon Lescott comes into the XI. Alvaro Negredo is given the nod in attack, while James Milner also starts. Fulham, meanwhile, once more have youngster Cauley Woodrow leading their line. Kieran Richardson and Alex Kacaniklic are also involved. Full team news to follow.

2.10pmTEAMS:

CITY: Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure; Milner, Nasri, Silva; Negredo

FULHAM: Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise; Kacaniklic, Riether, Kvist, Sidwell, Richardson; Woodrow


2.13pmSo there we have it. No real surprises in the City XI this afternoon with Martin Demichelis lining up in central defence alongside Lescott. David Silva and Samir Nasri will provide support to Negredo. Fulham, meanwhile, leave Lewis Holtby and Darren Bent on the bench once more. It appears that Riether will come into the side in a midfield role, meanwhile, with Kieran Richardson and Kacaniklic deployed in wide areas.

2.16pmCity secured the League Cup earlier this month with a 3-1 win over Sunderland, but their hopes of a famous quadruple recently ended when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan Athletic and Champions League by Barcelona in the space of three days. However, they returned to form in the league last weekend with a 2-0 win over Hull City. With Chelsea currently thumping Arsenal 6-0, City need the three points this afternoon.

2.19pmTheir exploits in the cup competitions has meant that they have a number of games in hand over their title rivals, but it is imperative that Manuel Pellegrini's side continue to pick up wins. As it stands, they are two points behind third-place Arsenal, two behind second-place Liverpool and nine behind the leaders Chelsea, who, as mentioned, are currently leading the Gunners 6-0 at Stamford Bridge after 75 minutes.

2.22pmCity's home form has been a key part of their success in the league this season with 12 wins from their 13 matches, losing just once in the process. That defeat arrived against Chelsea, who under Jose Mourinho, have emerged as the strongest challenges for the crown. It is a title race that threatens to go right to the wire.

2.25pmWhat's more, City have won 44 of their last 51 home games and are unbeaten in nine games against Fulham, who have picked up just two away points in their last six games. That said, Fulham have a decent away record against City – winning three and drawing four of their last 10 visits to Manchester.

2.28pmThis afternoon's match becomes even more important for City ahead of their trip to Old Trafford next week. It hasn't quite been the season that Manchester United would have hoped for, but their Champions League win over Olympiacos during the week will hand them confidence ahead of the derby that is for certain.

2.31pmCity are also the leading scorers on their own patch in the league this season with 43 in their 13 matches, conceding just nine times in the process. That said, the goals have dried up in recent weeks for Negredo and Edin Dzeko, while Sergio Aguero is finding it difficult to overcome a succession of injury problems.

2.34pmCity have kept a clean sheet in their last three league games, but scored just three times in their last two, which is a far cry from their form in the early part of the season. On paper, today should provide a comfortable victory for City, but this is a campaign that has thrown up its fair share of twists and turns.



2.37pmFulham, meanwhile, enter the match off the back of a vital 1-0 win over Newcastle United last weekend. They entered that particular fixture having lost 3-1 to Cardiff City the week before, but last week's three points has handed them hope. That said, they remain rooted to the bottom of the table, four points from safety.

2.40pmPerhaps more worrying for the Cottagers is that they have played three more games than 18th-place Sunderland and two more than Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, who sit just outside the drop zone. It would be unfair to say that Fulham have been cut adrift, but they need to start picking up wins at this stage of the season. Draws are no longer good enough for the capital outfit.

2.43pmNew boss Felix Magath has certainly adopted his own style at Craven Cottage, with the fiery manager not afraid to make big calls in terms of team selection. That paid dividends last weekend, but Fulham have really struggled this season - winning just seven of their 30 matches and losing 20 times in the process.

2.46pmFulham's away record this season has seen them take 11 points from their 15 matches, which is more than the likes of Cardiff, Stoke City, Norwich City and Palace. However, the London outfit have the worst home record in the league, taking just 13 points from their 15 games and losing 10 times in the process.



2.49pmFinding the back of the net has been a problem for Fulham this season with just 30 in their 30 matches, six of which have come from midfielder Steve Sidwell. City, meanwhile, are the second highest scorers in the division with 71. Down the other end, City have conceded 23 times, keeping 13 clean sheets in the process, while Fulham have comfortably the worst defensive record in the league with 65 conceded.

2.52pmLast weekend's 1-0 victory over Newcastle produced Fulham's first clean sheet in 15 league games, which will hand them confidence ahead of the match. It was just their fourth shutout in the league in a campaign that has seen them concede the opening goal in 21 matches, which is the highest number in the division.

2.55pmHere's a word from Fulham boss Magath ahead of the clash: "You always have a chance, even in such difficult games as Man City. I think City now has the chance to go for the championship and that is what they will have in mind so I think it will not be so easy for us to win there [but] I think we can defend very well and so, if we make it difficult for City to score, then I think we'll get a chance to score ourselves."

2.58pmPREDICTION: In truth, I am finding it extremely difficult to make a case for Fulham this afternoon. Earlier in the season it might have been a bit of a rout and while I do not expect too many goals, I am backing City to collect all the points. My score prediction is 2-0 City at the Etihad.



1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal could be all-important in this type of match. Right, the away side get the first 45 minutes of action underway.

2 minIt is a beautiful afternoon in Manchester - perfect conditions for a game of football. As expected, the home side have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes with Toure and Milner both seeing plenty of the ball thus far. Milner looks for the run of Negredo down the right, but the Spaniard fells Riise.

4 minNot too much in terms of attacking pressure from either side in the opening four minutes, but it is the Fulham supporters making most of the noise. Kacaniklic forces the issue for Fulham with a bright run down the right, but Kolarov is across to clear the danger. Positive start from the league's basement side.

6 minAppears to be a problem for Silva as the City winger is chopped down by Riether in the middle of the park. However, it appears that the Spaniard will be fit to continue. Fairly untidy period of the match in the last couple of minutes with the referee forced to stop proceedings. Six minutes played and still goalless.

8 minJust a reminder that City enter the match nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but have four games in hand over the Blues. City have just started to up the tempo in the last couple of minutes with Milner combining with Zabaleta inside the box, but the latter's cross is straight into the arms of the waiting Stockdale.

8 minJust a reminder that City enter the match nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but have four games in hand over the Blues. City have just started to up the tempo in the last couple of minutes with Milner combining with Zabaleta inside the box, but the latter's cross is straight into the arms of the waiting Stockdale.

10 minCity continue to force the issue as Silva gains a corner from Riether. The resulting set piece is delivered by Nasri and brings cries of handball, but the referee is not interested. The home side are in control of the possession, but still we wait for the first clear opportunity with 10 minutes on the clock at the Etihad.

13 minReplays have indicated that Sidwell might have handled inside the box, but it would have been harsh. The away side just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as the pressure continues. Fairly comfortable for both defences in the opening 13 minutes. However, the tempo is certainly rising in Manchester.

15 minSight of goal for Zabaleta as the City right-back drives to the edge of the Fulham box, but Hangeland comes across to make a fine block at the vital moment. The pressure continues as Zabaleta turns a low cross into the box, but once more the danger is cleared. Kacaniklic is on the chase for Fulham down the other end, but the Sweden international cannot meet a pass from Sidwell as City launch another period of pressure.

17 minCHANCE! First real chance of the match falls to Milner as the City midfielder meets a loose ball on the edge of the box, but Stockdale is on hand to make a smart save at his near post. The resulting corner is delivered by Silva, but this time Hangeland rises to clear. Still goalless at the Etihad.

19 minAnother shooting chance for the home side as Nasri collects possession outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Not too much from Fulham in the last few moments as the first period advances.

22 minBetter from Fulham in the last couple of moments with Sidwell and Kvist both prepared to move into the City half. The former challenges Lescott on the edge of the City box, but comes out second best before the home side launch a fast counter-attack. End-to-end football in the last couple of minutes, but still goalless.

24 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Fulham to threaten from a free kick as Milner fells Richardson on the edge of the City box. The resulting set piece is taken by Richardson, but his effort is straight into the wall. Richardson gathers moments later, however, and sees one whistle just wide of Hart's post.

25 minPENALTY TO CITY!

26 minThe home side are awarded a penalty as Amorebieta is penalised for a high challenge on Negredo inside the box. It will be Toure to take for the home side. For me, it was a harsh decision.

26 minGOAL! City 1-0 Fulham (Toure, pen)

27 minCity take the lead with 26 minutes on the clock as Toure drives his effort straight down the middle. It is harsh on Fulham, who have been impressive this afternoon, but that is football at this level.

30 minYou just get the feeling that Fulham need to ride out the next five minutes or so. Another City goal at this stage of proceedings would make it difficult for the away side to respond. Suddenly the Etihad is full of noise as City keep possession in the middle of the park. Little over 15 minutes of the half remaining.

32 minFulham are living dangerously at the moment as the home side continue to deliver low balls into the box, but Hangeland and Richardson take it in turns to clear the danger. Fulham just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as the pressure continues. Surely another goal for the hosts would end this contest.

34 minHalf-chance for Fulham as Richardson finds some space down the left before crossing towards Riether, but his header is just wide of the post. Sidwell delivers from the opposite side moments later, but Lescott is on hand to clear. Much better from the visitors, who are still more than in this match after 34 minutes.

36 minLittle under 10 minutes of the first period remaining and still City lead 1-0. It has not been vintage from the home side, but results and not performances are the most important at this stage of the campaign. Not too much to report in terms of chances, however, as Fulham continue to enjoy possession in the final third.

39 minOFF THE LINE! Wonderful chance for the home side to score their second as Silva dances into the box before chipping Stockdale, but Amorebieta is on hand to clear off the line. Fulham continue to live dangerously on the counter attack with little over five minutes of the first period remaining.

41 minCHANCE! Incredible chance for Fulham to equalise as Amorebieta rises highest from a corner, but he plants his effort high of the crossbar. The visitors have had opportunities that is for certain.

43 minNot too much to report in terms of attacking pressure from either side in the last couple of moments with both teams guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third. City do force a corner through Milner, but Hangeland is on hand to clear the danger. Still 1-0 City with 43 minutes on the clock.

45 minCROSSBAR! City rattle the crossbar in the latter stages of the half as Milner finds Kolarov, whose side-footed effort smashes against the woodwork. Fulham remain in the match after 45 minutes.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: City 1-0 Fulham

3.48pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with City leading 1-0 courtesy of a penalty from Toure after 26 minutes. Fulham have had their moments in an open first period, but thus far been unable to find the back of the net. At the interval, Manuel Pellegrini's side are in control of proceedings.

3.53pmSTATISTICS: The home side have had more of the ball with 69%, while they have had six attempts, four of which have been on target. Fulham, meanwhile, have not tested Hart with any of their five attempts. There has been just the one card, meanwhile, with Amorebieta booked in the penalty incident.

3.58pmBENCH WATCH: City are without a number of key players this afternoon, but have options on the bench in the shape of Navas, Rodwell and Jovetic. Fulham, meanwhile, have the likes of Kasami, Holtby and Bent in reverse. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Just a reminder that as it stands, City would move six points from leaders Chelsea and still have three games in hand. Fulham, meanwhile, would remain rooted to the bottom. Right, the home side get the second 45 minutes underway.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. However, I suspect that both managers will consider alterations if the score remains 1-0 for the next 20 minutes or so. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive.

50 minSlightly untidy start to the second period with the referee forced to intervene following a number of late challenges. Not too much from Fulham in terms of an attacking threat, meanwhile, with City in control of the possession. Silva attempts to thread a through pass to Zabaleta moments later, but Heitinga clears.

52 minSidwell continues to break forward from midfield for Fulham, but Toure has started in a deeper role this half and the former Chelsea midfielder is finding it difficult to create some space. Negredo picks up possession in an advanced area moments later, but is penalised for a high challenge on Riise. Not too much in terms of chances in the second period, with City still leading courtesy of that Toure penalty.

53 minPENALTY TO CITY!

53 minRED CARD! Amorebieta (Fulham)

54 minGOAL! City 2-0 Fulham (Toure, pen)

55 minCity are awarded a penalty as Amorebieta fells Silva inside the box and is handed his marching orders. Toure steps up to roll his effort into the bottom corner. Is that game over at the Etihad?!

56 minFulham make their first change of the match as Richardson is replaced by Holtby, which is not much of a surprise. Fulham have struggled to force the issue in the second period. Another change follows as Roberts replaces Kacaniklic. All change for the visitors with little under 35 minutes of football remaining.

58 minFulham just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as Riether concedes a corner following bright work from Kolarov. The resulting set piece is delivered by Silva, but Hangeland is on hand to clear. No movement on the City bench, but Pellegrini's attention will surely soon turn to Tuesday's derby at Old Trafford.

60 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with the home side in a comfortable position with little over 30 minutes of football remaining. The last thing that Fulham need is to take a hiding, but City are increasing the pressure with a series of dangerous balls into the penalty area.

63 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Silva feeds Negredo, who finds some space inside the box, but his effort is blocked by Riether. Kolarov picks up possession moments later, but his effort is high and wide. It looks to be a long 25 minutes or so for Fulham, who simply cannot keep hold of the ball at the Etihad.

65 minGOAL! City 3-0 Fulham (Toure)

66 minCity have their third of the match after 65 minutes as Toure picks up possession outside the box before bending one into the far corner. Just brilliant from the midfielder once more.

69 minCity have another free kick just outside the box as Riether fells Milner. Before the set piece is taken, City make their first change of the match as Silva is replaced by Navas. Finally Nasri delivers into the Fulham box, but it just evades Lescott at the far post. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining.

69 minCity make their first change of the match as Silva is replaced by Navas. City have a free kick moments later after Riether fells Milner on the edge of the box, but Nasri's set piece evades Toure at the far post. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining and City are in complete control at the Etihad.

71 min

73 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Milner combines with Negredo before rolling one towards the bottom corner, but Hangeland makes the block. Another opportunity arrives from the resulting corner, but Kolarov is denied by a smart save from Stockdale. I would be surprised if the scoring was finished here.

75 minI have just spotted Jack Rodwell! No, it cannot be. He has hardly featured for City this season, but will get a run out in the final 15 minutes this afternoon. When he joined from Everton, he was one of the brightest talents in the Premier League, but his career has stalled at the Etihad. Little over 15 minutes remaining.

77 minIt is almost like a training match for City at the moment as they continue to pass and probe in the final third. A low cross from Navas causes concern inside the box, but Hangeland is across to clear. Moments later, the home side do make their second change of the match as Toure is replaced by Rodwell.

80 minCHANCE! Another chance for the home side as Demichelis meets a corner from Milner, but Riether is on hand to clear off the line at the vital moment. City are not letting up this afternoon.

82 minPossession football from the home side in the last few moments as they continue to keep the ball in the final third. It is tough on Fulham, but they have really struggled in the second period. Just a reminder that victory for City will move them above Arsenal and into third. Little under 10 minutes to play at the Etihad.

84 minCity make their third and final change as Jovetic enters the field in place of Nasri, who has been impressive this afternoon. Just a reminder that next up for City is a clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. United are in action later this evening against West Ham United in London.

84 minFulham look to their bench once more as Kasami enters the field in place of Woodrow, who has really struggled to influence proceedings this evening.

84 minGOAL! City 4-0 Fulham (Fernandinho)

85 minThe home side have their fifth in the final five minutes as Fernandinho finds some space just inside the box before rattling one into the top corner. It is another miserable afteroon for Fulham.

88 minThis could yet get worse for Fulham as the home side continue to break forward with numbers. City have not been at their best this afternoon, but have blown Fulham away in the second period. A fifth almost arrives from Milner, but Stockdale is down low to make a smart save.

88 minGOAL! City 5-0 Fulham (Demichelis)

89 minCity have their fifth after 88 minutes as Demichelis finds himself all alone inside the box and simply cannot miss from close range. Goals galore in Manchester!

90 min+2The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the second of those. City threaten another as Milner breaks down the left, but Hangeland is across to clear at the vital moment. Little over one minute of football remaining.

90 min+3CHANCE! Negredo comes close to finding the back of the net as he meets a loose ball inside the Fulham box, but somehow the striker pokes over the crossbar from close range.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: City 5-0 Fulham

4.53pmSo there we have it. Toure scores three times as City beat Fulham 5-0. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for all of the reaction. Good afternoon!

Chelsea's Brazilian player David Luiz (L) celebrates scoring his goal against Manchester City during a Premier League football match at Stamford Bridge in London, England on March 20, 2011
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