Dzeko spares City blushes
Edin Dzeko came off the bench to secure Manchester City a last-gasp 2-1 victory at Fulham on Saturday afternoon and save his manager Roberto Mancini's blushes.
Mancini's side fell behind to a Mladen Petric penalty after 10 minutes but levelled two minutes before break through Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international tucked home after a superb save by Mark Schwarzer, who would be beaten again at the death by Dzeko.
The Bosnia international had been on the pitch for less than two minutes when he capitalised on a poor clearing header by John Arne Riise and lashed home to secure victory.
City made the brighter start to proceedings, but the hosts extinguished that early threat and were handed a chance to break the deadlock by referee Mark Halsey. Pablo Zabaleta tripped Riise after the full-back cut in from the left, which the referee adjudged to be just inside the 18-yard box.
The call looked harsh but Petric made no mistake with his spot-kick, sending Joe Hart the wrong way with a well-struck left-footed effort. The Croatia international wasted a decent chance to double Fulham's advantage five minutes later as he scooped over after fine link-up play with Hugo Rodallega.
Gael Clichy tested Schwarzer with a hopeful left-foot drive as the reigning champions pressed for a leveller, although they were still struggling to stifle the Whites at the other end. Vincent Kompany was booked for bringing down Petric on the edge of the 18-yard box and was fortunate Bryan Ruiz fired wide after the resulting free-kick was blocked.
Aaron Hughes and Schwarzer combined superbly to somehow stop the visitors' bundled effort on the line, before the latter showed great reactions to thwart Silva and Hughes cleared from the cross that followed.
But heading into half-time, Tevez's deflected shot was turned goalwards by Silva, which forced Schwarzer into a fine save that unfortunately for the veteran fell kindly for Aguero to tuck away. Most of the second-half play was at the other end and Aguero was unfortunate to see a header loop just wide of the far post.
Alex Kacaniklic then darted down the left and, after seeing an appeal for a handball against Zabaleta turned down, saw his blocked cross fall to Ruiz, whose strike would have nestled in the top corner had it not been for a Hart save.
Giorgos Karagounis came on for his Fulham debut with the clock winding down, while Samir Nasri and Dzeko were brought on in a bid to change the course of the game. Less than two minutes after the latter's introduction the plan worked as Riise's failure to clear a Clichy cross allowed Dzeko to rifle home inside the box and secure three points.