Carlos Tevez refused to celebrate as his double-strike inspired Manchester City’s 3-1 win over his former club West Ham on Monday.
While Tevez won’t win any popularity contests at Manchester United after his acrimonious switch to City, he is fondly regarded at West Ham after almost single-handedly keeping them in the Premier League during a loan spell three years ago.
The Argentina striker acknowledged that the Hammers still have a place in his heart as well as he waved an apology to West Ham’s traveling supporters after opening the scoring at Eastlands.
Carlton Cole equalized for Gianfranco Zola’s team, but Martin Petrov restored City’s lead before half-time and Tevez nailed his second goal after half-time.
Again, he hardly acknowledged the goal that left West Ham stuck in the bottom three and lifted Mark Hughes’s side, who have won five of their six league matches, into fifth place.
After only five minutes, Petrov was played in down the left wing and his low cross found Tevez in acres of space four yards from goal. Tevez easily converted the chance to claim his first league goal for City, but there was no celebration in front of the West Ham fans at that end of the stadium.
Unlike his teammate Emmanuel Adebayor, who had raced the length of the pitch to taunt Arsenal’s fans when he scored against his old club earlier this month, Tevez held out his arms in apology to the Hammers supporters and they responded by clapping their former idol.
Remarkably, just as a second City goal seemed inevitable, West Ham punished slack defending from the hosts to snatch an equalizer.
Alessandro Diamanti’s free-kick was only cleared to Radoslav Kovac and his shot was deftly flicked in by England striker Cole with his back to goal.
Parity for Zola’s team was short-lived however as Petrov marked his return to action with a clever strike eight minutes later.
Luis Jimenez fouled Nigel de Jong and Petrov stepped up to drive a free-kick around the West Ham wall and past Robert Green.
But Tevev put the result beyond doubt in the 61st minute. Craig Bellamy, another former Hammer, curled over a free-kick and Kovac played Tevez onside, allowing the Argentina star to head past Green.