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Alvaro Negredo and Yaya Toure scored second-half goals as Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League by beating Hull City 2-0.
Negredo, who was introduced at the break for Edin Dzeko, nodded in Pablo Zabaleta's cross in the 65th minute, before Toure struck a late free-kick to give Manuel Pellegrini's men three points.
Hull enjoyed the better of the first half, with Sone Aluko and Robert Koren going close, while Danny Graham had an effort ruled out for offside, but City did enough at Etihad Stadium to claim the win. Pellegrini dropped Javi Garcia and Gael Clichy from the side that lost 3-2 to Cardiff City, replacing the pair with the Matija Nastasic and Aleksandar Kolarov. Hull City manager Steve Bruce made 11 changes to the side who scraped through the second round of the Capital One Cup against Leyton Orient, while Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Quinn won a place on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.
One of the new inclusions, Nigeria midfielder Aluko, almost gave Hull a shock lead in the seventh minute after a loose ball broke to him and he raced through the Manchester City defence. But with only goalkeeper Joe Hart to beat, Aluko scuffed his effort wide.
It was a warning sign for the hosts, and shortly after Dzeko tested Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor at the other end with a near-post header, the visitors went close again. Bruce's men had the ball in the back of the net, but Graham's volley was chalked off for offside.
McGregor reacted well to tip Joleon Lescott's header over the bar soon after, before Koren was next to go close for Hull. The Slovenia midfielder saw his 25-yard effort, that had Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart beaten, sail just wide.
The hosts slowed the tempo of the game down in the immediate aftermath, as David Silva and Toure helped them enjoy extended periods of possession. But Hull dealt with every challenge they were presented with and went to the half-time break with their heads held high.
Frustrated by his team’s inability to find a breakthrough, Pellegrini brought on Negredo, and the Spaniard had a good chance just minutes after coming on. He was unable to direct a header on target though, following an excellent Silva pass, while Graham fired over for Hull at the other end.
Jesus Navas had an acrobatic attempt on goal fly wide soon after, but the hosts finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. Zabaleta was the provider, with his looping cross from the right finding Negredo, who headed the ball into the ground and across McGregor to open the scoring.
Lescott had a late chance to double City's lead before Toure scored an exquisite free-kick to seal the result. The Ivorian who curled in a 20-yard effort in the 4-0 opening-day win over Newcastle United, repeated the feat despite the efforts of Ahmed Elmohamady on the line as City celebrated another home victory.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "The most important thing is getting the points. I am very happy that we won but of course we must improve. We had too many difficulties during the first half.
"Hull defended well and we need to try and be a dangerous team. Every match is hard and you must always concentrate and you must play 100% to win any game in the Premier League. I know what the Premier League is, it's important to win 2-0. It's not easy to beat any team."
"I expect from Alvaro Negredo exactly what we are seeing, every time he plays. I know how good a striker he is. Everyone that puts in a good performance will have a possible start."
Hull City manager Steve Bruce: "We couldn't have asked for more really. Our Achilles heel in the championship last year was 'can we score enough?' Certainly we've got really good players, and we've added to that, and you can see why we've come out of the Championship with the way we played. But we need to score.
"I've been here a few times since the change – I think I've had more chances today than I've had in six games against them so we needed to take one. But overall I'm very, very pleased."
"The linesman gives an offside, which he's right, but he’s two inches offside. You need that little bit of luck when you come here but it wasn't to be."
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|22 Sep 2013||v Man Utd (H)|
|28 Sep 2013||v Aston Villa (A)|
|05 Oct 2013||v Everton (H)|
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|27 Oct 2013||v Chelsea (A)|