Alan Pardew and the Newcastle supporters at St. James Park were left shaking their heads as a first-half equalizer was controversially ruled out by referee Mike Jones, and they never recovered.
Edin Dzeko struck City ahead and Alvaro Negredo finished it off for a 2-0 win, pulling the Citizens into the Premier League lead, but the decision to disallow Cheick Tiote’s goal will be the most talked-about storyline.
Newcastle attacked first in the opening minutes, but the visitors soon inserted their superiority and it would immediately bear fruit.
Some pinpoint passing saw David Silva link with Aleksandar Kolarov overlapping on the left flank, and the defender sliced the ball between two Newcastle men to find Dzeko streaking through the box for the finish.
The eighth minute lead was just what the doctor ordered for City as they looked to put road struggles behind them.
Kolarov continued to be a menace on the left touchline, as he again got an opening and nearly found Alvaro Negredo in the box for an identical chance just four minutes later, but his cross went inches out of Negredo’s reach.
After nearly going down 2-0, Newcastle began to peg the City wingers back and build themselves into the match. They’d press for an equalizer, and would get it after a half hour of hard work…or so they thought.
In the 34th minute, a corner bounded around the penalty area before falling to Tiote outside the left corner of the box. He lashed at goal, a brilliant strike that a whizzed past Joe Hart and nestled into the top corner.
But as Newcastle celebrated, referee Mike Jones was called over to the touchline by his assistant referee, and after a conversation they ruled the goal out for offsides. Replays showed two Newcastle players in obvious offsides positions, but the pair had nothing to do with the blistering strike that came fizzing through and into the goal.
It was a controversial decision for sure, and Alan Pardew was livid. Nonetheless, the decision stood, and Newcastle’s frustrations brewed immediately. Moussa Sissoko was booked immediately for kicking the ball away in anger, and Pardew had a few choice words for both Manuel Pellegrini and the officiating crew before the halftime whistle blew.
Boos rang around St. James Park, but the break served to help ease the pressure and Newcastle came out firing to start the second half. Tim Krul also made an important save early on, keeping out an on-target header from Alvaro Negredo with a great reflex save. Joe Hart on the other end saved well on a bending distance strike from Yohan Cabaye.
Manuel Pellegrini made a pair of early substitutions and the game slowed. City again worked their excellent passing in the 71st minute. Jesus Navas backheeled for Kolarov who remained a menace on the left flank, and his cross found Nasri but his first-time volley was lashed right at Krul.
The game came to a halt for several minutes as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa hacked down Nasri in the 75th minute, and the Frenchman was stretchered off in tears as Pellegrini can only hope he receives good news on his electrifying winger.
A spell of pressure from City in the 87th minute saw Fernandinho hit the crossbar with a header. Nasri’s injury meant seven minutes of stoppage time, but that just served to give Manchester City the seal they needed.
Alvaro Negredo on a breakaway shot at Tim Krul, and the ball rebounded back to the winger who slipped past the grounded goalkeeper and tapped in for a 2-0 lead.
Manchester City returned to the top of the table, passing Chelsea with Arsenal still to play tomorrow. Newcastle meanwhile fail to keep pace with Manchester United and remain four points back of seventh place.
Manchester City – Dzeko 8′, Negredo 90+4′
Newcastle United – Krul; Santon, S.Taylor, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa (Haidara 82′); Anita (Cisse 73′), Tiote, Cabaye; Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 82′).
Manchester City – Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure (Garcia 61′), Nasri (Milner 79′), Silva, Negredo; Dzeko (Navas 52′)