Manchester City ground out a solid 2-0 win against newly promoted Hull City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
City were second best for most of the first half but the pivotal moment came in the games 65th minute as substitute Alvaro Negredo headed home from a fabulous Pablo Zabaleta cross, as Man City kept scored for the 52nd home league game in a row.
Then in the 90th minute captain Yaya Toure put some gloss on the scoreline by curling home a wonderful free kick from 25-yards out to make it 2-0.
Hull spurned several good chances early as Man City started slowly following their shock 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City last time out.
But Manuel Pellergini’s side held firm and struck the decisive blow in the second period to give them a second-straight home win to begin the season. The result was slightly harsh on the visiting Tigers who battled well throughout and could have easily snatched a draw.
In the first half Hull City were lively early on and in the 7th minute Sone Aluko spurned a terrific chance when clean through against Joe Hart.
The 24-year-old striker was played in and only had Hart to beat but he scuffed his shot wide of the post as Man City were let off the hook.
Then on 11 minutes Danny Graham slotted in at the back post as Hull boss Steve Bruce celebrated… but his jubilation was premature as the offside flag was raised. Graham, making his first start for Hull, should have really done better as he could clearly see across the line and was completely unmarked.
Manchester City soon hit back as Joleon Lescott powered in a header that McGregor tipped over the bar as City began to find space in Hull’s defense after a barrage of set pieces.
But the theme of the first half continued as Hull’s Robert Koren smashed a volley from the edge of the box just past the post after 15 minutes, as the Tigers started off impressively at the Etihad.
The rest of the first half saw City trying to push forward but Hull stayed firm and the home fans vented their frustration at the break. Pellegrini’s men had work to do.
You had to look way back to November 2010 for the last Premier League team to kept a clean sheet at the Etihad and Hull were looking like they could snatch a shutout.
In the second half City started off much better with substitute Alvaro Negredo offering more punch up front than Edin Dzeko. The Spaniard wormed free of his marker but headed a good chance horribly wide after 46 minutes.
City then came close once more as their diminutive Spanish duo of David Silva and Jesus Navas linked up on the right but the latter hit his volley over the bar.
Hull came back into the game once again as Graham had a few half chances but the real action was in the midfield as the Tigers flew into challenges and plenty of yellow cards were dished out to both teams by referee Phil Dowd.
In the 62nd minute Lescott was left unmarked at the back post but his header across goal was easily cleared for a corner as City piled on the pressure.
The Citizens continued to toil as the half wore on and struggled to break down the visitors but the all-important breakthrough for arrived in the 65th minute as substitute Alvaro Negredo headed home.
For the second week in a row the Spanish international striker came off the bench to score with a header after a fantastic ball from right back Pablo Zabaleta.
After the opener Hull City huffed and puffed to try and get back in the game but Joe Hart made some great claims in goal and City’s backline looked solid.
Then in the 90th minute Manchester City’s captain Yaya Toure stepped up to curl home a magnificent free kick to seal all three points and put the result beyond doubt. It was Toure’s second superb free kick in as many home games as the Citizen’s got the win they needed but Hull City certainly made them work hard for it.
Man City’s narrow win momentarily put them second in the Premier League table with six points from three games, while Hull remain 13th after one win and two defeats since returning to the Premier League.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Lescott, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Aguero (Milner 76), Silva (Nasri 66), Dzeko (Negredo 45). Subs not used: Javi Garcia, Clichy, Pantilimon, Jovetic.
Hull City: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Figueroa, Livermore, Huddlestone, Koren (Boyd 75), Aluko (Quinn 70), Brady, Graham. Subs not used: Rosenior, Bruce, Meyler, McShane, Harper.
Goals: Negredo, 65 (MC) Toure, 90 (MC)