Manchester City eventually triumphed over a determined Queens Park Rangers side to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 5 points along with their increasingly impressive winning streak. It was tight game with both sides showing great work rate and QPR will be disappointed not to have taken points from Mancini’s high-fliers.
Staying true to Danny Gabbidon’s warning that they would not afford City too much respect, Queens Park Rangers started the game well, attacking and counter attacking with the urgency characteristic of a cup tie.
And it was an attitude which paid dividends, as Jay Bothroyd dispatched a header past Joe Hart from a tremendous Joey Barton free kick on 27 minutes, sending City behind for the first time this season. There were a few protestations that it should never have been a free kick, but City’s defence was poor defending the set piece, as Premier League debutant, Stefan Savic was easily beaten in the air.
Manchester City attempted to overturn the deficit immediately, but were foiled by stout defending from QPR, as Anton Ferdinand blocked an Edin Dzeko shot. However, QPR remained optimistic and threatened to score again on the 39th minute, when Bothroyd steered a header onto the post from close range.
Nevertheless, City’s class shone through and when James Milner found the in-form Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian striker wasted no time in slotting the ball past Patrick Kenny on the 42nd minute, making it 1-1. City continued their onslaught and Aguero smashed the ball off the post just before the break.
QPR once again started the second half with optimistic determination and midfield maestro Joey Barton launched a shot immediately after the restart. But Manchester City responded in kind and Edin Dzeko launched Mancini’s men into the lead on the 51st minute.
City continued their dominance, exhibiting great confidence and almost added to their tally when Dzeko forced a save from Patrick Kenny on 59 minutes.
Nevertheless, QPR persevered and snatched an equaliser on 69 minutes, when a Jay Bothroyd shot deflected of Helguson and into the Man City net, sending the home fans into ecstacy. However, it was shortlived, as Yaya Touré sent the visitors into the lead with a header from a Kolarov cross, making it 3-2.
In a blatant attacking move, Mancini sent Mario Balotelli on for Gareth Barry, but the fiery Italian proved rather ineffective and was even booked for diving on the 77th minute.
The final ten minutes saw Man City come under severe pressure and QPR hit the wood work once more, as Helguson smashed a header off the cross bar. QPR won a corner in the dying embers of the game but even with Kenny up from nets, they could not score and the game finished 3-2.
QPR: Kenny, Gabbidon, Traore (Hill 90+1), Young, Ferdinand, Faurlin, Barton (booked), Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd (Puncheon 76), Mackie (Smith 84), Helguson. Man City: Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kolarov, Savic, Milner, Barry (Balotelli 75 (booked)), Silva, Y Toure, Dzeko (K Toure 88), Aguero (Johnson 68)