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Manchester City recovered from their European setback against Barcelona as they beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Beaten 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League by the Spanish giants in midweek, they were looking to bounce back with victory against Mark Hughes’ Stoke side.
But with Man City looking set to drop points against Stoke for a second time this season, Yaya Toure's 70th-minute winner maintained his side's Barclays Premier League title push as Manuel Pellegrini's charges kept pace with rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
The visitors, unchanged from their draw with Swansea City, were the first to get a shot on target as Charlie Adam's long-range strike was collected by Joe Hart three minutes in.
However, it was Manchester City who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges - Aleksandar Kolarov forcing Asmir Begovic to clear a dangerous cross after working space on the left-hand side before the Stoke goalkeeper saved Fernandinho's effort shortly afterwards.
Marc Wilson was then on hand to block Pablo Zabaleta's goalbound effort before Jon Walters and Ryan Shawcross both saw headers drift wide of Hart's goal.
Adam again proved a threat from distance when his swerving drive was tipped wide by Man City's England international after 21 minutes.
Despite enjoying a positive start, Man City found it difficult to break down Stoke's stubborn defence as they were limited to strikes from outside the area from Toure and Samir Nasri - both of which were collected simply enough by Begovic.
Edin Dzeko, one of two Man City changes from the loss to Barca, curled a shot marginally wide with 44 minutes on the clock but it was to no avail as the sides went in level at the break.
The hosts began the second half in much the same way as they ended the first, dominating possession but failing to find the killer ball in behind Stoke's backline.
Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic were both introduced before Toure finally settled Man City nerves - sweeping home Kolarov's cross from close range, with Begovic's hand insufficient to stop it rolling over the line.
Dzeko should have made it two shortly afterwards, when Navas found him with an expert delivery, but he was unable to convert with the goal at his mercy.
It mattered little however, as former Man City boss Mark Hughes' return to the Etihad Stadium proved an unhappy one while the hosts picked up their first Premier League win in three matches.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "They were defending with 10 players in their box. It was very important to be concentrated for counter-attacks and set pieces. Both things were important, to keep a clean sheet and to be patient.
"I thought we controlled the game and it was a matter of time before we scored.
"Stevan Jovetic felt his hamstring so we will see what the doctor says.
"We will see about Sergio Aguero. He will start working with the team on Tuesday. We will see during the team if he is fit to play in the Capital one Cup final."
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "We are disappointed because we put in a huge effort. We were excellent in the first half.
"We came here with a gameplan and we executed it really well.
"I thought we were a threat on the break when we regained possession and out of possession we were organised. They found us really hard to break down.
"In the end, we have just made a couple of errors which led to the goal and they were grateful to get the goal and the three points.
"In terms of performance we have to be happy but it was not the result we wanted."
|27 Apr 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|13 Apr 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|07 May 2014||v Aston Villa (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Hull (A)|
|25 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|11 May 2014||v West Ham (H)|