Edin Dzeko scored a brace for the second time this week as Manchester City snatched a breathless 4-2 Barclays Premier League triumph at Hull City.
Winless in three league outings heading into the match, Manuel Pellegrini's men were irresistible during the opening stages at the KC Stadium as Sergio Aguero and Dzeko gave them a deserved 2-0 lead after 11 minute. Hull battled back, overrunning their opponents in midfield and finding extended joy down the flanks.
Eliaquim Mangala, who impressed on his Manchester City debut versus Chelsea last Sunday, was the main victim of Hull's ambition. The centre-back headed into his own net before fouling Abel Hernandez in the penalty area for the same player to level the contest in the 32nd minute from the spot.
Yaya Toure hit an upright with a brilliant long-range effort after half-time, leaving it to Dzeko, who netted twice in the 7-0 Capital One Cup rout of Sheffield Wednesday during midweek, to restore the champions' lead before Frank Lampard came off the bench to score for the fourth time in as many appearances for his new club.
Pellegrini made good on his midweek pledge to give Willy Caballero two games in row as the Manchester City goalkeeper kept his place ahead of Joe Hart following Wednesday's Capital One Cup victory. Pablo Zabaleta returned at right-back after a red card against Chelsea, meaning the champions' only other change from that encounter was in the other full-back position, as Gael Clichy replaced Aleksandar Kolarov. Liam Rosenior came in for Stephen Quinn in the only change from Hull's last league outing at Newcastle United, allowing Ahmed Elmohamady to revert to his favoured right-wing position.
Inside 40 seconds, Aguero sped past Hull centre-back Michael Dawson to unleash a fierce shot that was beaten away by Allan McGregor at his near post. Hull could have led in the sixth minute as Nikica Jelavic, played onside by Zabaleta and with plenty of room inside the Manchester City box, failed to make contact with Jake Livermore's measured cross.
Hull were made to pay almost immediately. James Milner's right-wing cross was partially cleared and Zabaleta was alert to nod towards Aguero, who rifled home on the turn. It was soon 2-0 when Dzeko ghosted past Rosenior and curled a sumptuous 20-yard strike into the top corner.
Pellegrini's side appeared in rampant mood, but Hull had a lifeline in the 21st minute when Rosenior raced around the outside of Clichy and Mangala headed his delivery beyond Caballero. Dawson continued to endure a testing afternoon at Aguero's expense, the Argentina striker darting beyond his man once more to shoot narrowly wide.
But Hull were in the ascendancy and Mangala had another moment to forget as he fouled Hernandez in the area, allowing the Uruguay forward to pick himself up and convert the resulting penalty after 32 minutes. Hernandez and Dzeko passed up a headed opportunity apiece as a pulsating half reached its conclusion.
Caballero saved from Tom Huddlestone's early second-half drive before Mangala recovered his poise to deny Jelavic with a vital challenge. Toure then sent a scorching 30-yard strike smashing into a post after 50 minutes.
Pellegrini replaced Fernandinho with Jesus Navas in the 66th minute, allowing David Silva to operate in an advanced central position. The move paid dividends three minutes later when the Spanish player played in Dzeko to slot a left-footed finish past McGregor's despairing dive.
Caballero repaid his manager's faith with a sharp 86th-minute stop from Jelavic. A minute later, Lampard continued a familiar purple patch in front of goal to make it 3-2 after fine work from Zabaleta, leaving Hull still without a Barclays Premier League win since the opening day.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce: "We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. They nearly blew us away in the first 10 minutes. Maybe we showed them too much respect. We were brave or stupid to play two up top. I thought, 'We're at home let's give it a go.' We had a couple of chances to take the lead but on the day we weren't good enough.
"They've got quality written throughout the team. The one thing you have to do is defend well. We've conceded four and not done that badly. Sometimes you have to hold your hand up and say you have been beaten by the better team. I was delighted with the attitude. We were brave and it nearly came off. It was pleasing."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "These things can happen. We started very well. We were very unlucky with two individual mistakes through the game.
"He [Eliaquim Mangala] was very unlucky with the own goal and after that he arrived late for the penalty but we continue to trust him because he is a very good player who had very bad luck.
"During the week when we scored seven [against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup] I felt that the team was tired. I think today we played a very good team. They defended very well and we scored four goals which was very good. It was very important to win three pints here because we cannot allow to drop any more points on Chelsea."
|29 Nov 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|08 Nov 2014||v Burnley (A)|
|25 Oct 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Everton (A)|
|04 Oct 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Swansea (H)|