Goals from Carlos Tevez (2), Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure were enough to hand Manchester City all three points at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Zoltan Gera netted for the Whites in the second-half.
Fulham suffered a heavy defeat on Sunday afternoon at Craven Cottage as Manchester City’s three-goal salvo in the first-half sent them on the way to collecting all three points.
City got off to the best possible start when Carlos Tevez turned past Carlos Salcido on the edge of the area and placed a low shot inside Mark Schwarzer’s right-hand post on six minutes, giving the visitors a lead they would never surrender.
Despite conceding in the early stages, the Whites remained composed as they looked to find their way back to level terms. As the first-half progressed, Mark Hughes' men certainly started to gain a foothold – largely prompted by some unforced City errors.
However, as the Whites pushed forward they left space at the back which was advantage of. And Fulham nearly paid a costly price on 22 minutes when a free-kick deep inside City territory resulted in the visitors creating a counter-attacking opportunity for Aleksandar Kolarov, playing the City man into a one-on-one situation with Mark Schwarzer – his effort produced a good save from the big Australian.
City doubled their lead just after the half hour mark when the ball fell to Pablo Zabaleta 20 yards out following a corner, the City fullback lashed a powerful strike past Schwarzer to give City a two-goal cushion.
Just two minutes after the restart City made it three-nil when Yaya Toure was able to find space on the right-hand side of Fulham’s area to strike a firm shot just inside Schwarzer’s far post.
Simon Davies brought about a routine save from Joe Hart on 43 minutes when he got his head to a cross from the right, but it was of little trouble to the City custodian.
Mark Hughes made a substitution at the start of the second-half, replacing Damien Duff with Zoltan Gera. Gera joined Andrew Johnson in attack with Clint Dempsey moving out to the left flank.
Almost immediately the Whites started to look more dangerous in attack. Certainly the change, coupled with Hughes’ half-time talk, appeared to have the desired effect.
Mark Schwarzer came to the Whites’ rescue once again after Tevez was put through on goal, deflecting the Argentinean’s shot wide for a corner. From the ensuing set-piece, the ball fell to Pablo Zabaleta whose shot was cheekily diverted over the line by a Tevez back heel, giving City a four-goal lead.
Hughes made his second change of the match on 63 minutes when he replaced Dickson Etuhu with Diomansy Kamara. As a result of the switch, Kamara lined up with Johnson in attack, with Gera dropping back to the right wing and Simon Davies shifting inside to partner Danny Murphy in the middle of the park.
Andrew Johnson was denied a good chance by a fine last ditch tackle from Nigel de Jong after Diomansy Kamara had made good ground down the left flank. De Jong put the ball out for a coner which ultimately lead to Fulham's only goal of the game. Zoltan Gera found the ball at his feet on the edge of the penalty area from the corner. The Hungarian international’s low shot took a slight deflection off Clint Dempsey before beating Joe Hart.
The game continued in end-to-end fashion but City were clearly happy to allow their grip on the game to loosen slightly as the clock ticked away.