Wed, Jan 13, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Tevez treble guides City over Rovers, into fourth

AFP AND AP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, AND NEW YORK

Manchester City’s Argentine forward Carlos Tevez celebrates after scoring the third goal during a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers in Manchester, England, on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

Carlos Tevez scored his first Manchester City hat-trick as they went fourth in the Premier League table with a 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at Eastlands in Manchester on Monday.

Victory meant City maintained their perfect record under Italian manager Roberto Mancini with their fourth straight success, even if they did concede their first goal under the former Inter boss when Morten Gamst Pedersen scored for Rovers to make it 3-1.

However, the match belonged to Argentina’s Tevez, who was in brilliant form as he made it 11 goals in his last nine games.

The former Manchester United striker opened the scoring in the seventh minute and, after Micah Richards’s superb second, Tevez struck two expert curling shots, the second in stoppage time, to seal City’s win.

City are now just seven points behind leaders Chelsea and the big-spenders, backed by their billionaire Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour, could yet have a big influence on the destiny of this season’s title.

By contrast, defeat left Rovers just three points above the relegation zone with all the teams below them having games in hand.

As new City signing Patrick Vieira, the former Arsenal midfielder who signed from Serie A champions Inter Milan last week, watched on from the stands, the hosts wasted little time in taking the lead.

Rovers and England keeper Paul Robinson’s poor punch from Martin Petrov’s corner fell to City striker Benjani Mwaruwari and the Zimbabwean’s mishit shot went into the net off Carlos Tevez’s thigh.

Rovers looked as if they might go in at half-time just a goal behind until, six minutes before the break, Richards started and finished a fine move with Benjani again involved in the build-up.

Richards ran some 50 yards from the heart of City’s defense, beating several retreating Rovers players, before passing to Benjani inside the box.

Benjani’s shot hit the post but Richards, who had continued his run, slotted home the rebound.

Rovers manager Sam Allardyce sent on strikers David Hoilett and Nikola Kalinic at half-time, but it was City who scored next, just four minutes into the second-half.

Tevez started the move from inside the City half before finding Benjani, a rejuvenated figure under Mancini, who pulled the ball back to his onrushing fellow striker. Benjani unleashed a magnificent 20-yard curling shot past Robinson.

Rovers pulled a goal back 19 minutes from time when Pedersen made the most of Kompany’s mistake to score from 16 yards.

City fans then had to endure a few nervous moments but, importantly, their defense held firm for the remainder of the match and then, in the first minute of injury time, Tevez wrapped things up with a sublime finish.

In related news, Fox was to announce yesterday that it was launching its second all-soccer channel in the US on March 1.

The new network, called Fox Soccer Plus, will televise matches of the European Champions League, England’s Premier League, the English Football Association Cup and the Italian Serie A.

Fox Soccer Channel began operation in 1997 and changed its name to FSC five years ago.

“As America’s interest in the world’s game is increasing, the launch of Fox Soccer Plus will complement and enhance our current programming on Fox Soccer Channel,” new FSC general manager David Nathanson said.

Fox has been televising the Premier League in the US since 1998 and sublicenses some of the games to Setanta USA and ESPN2, which is televising 48 matches this season.

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