Football

Tevez hat-trick sends City fourth: Match Review

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Carlos Tevez scored his first Manchester City hat-trick to send Roberto Mancini's men soaring into the top four following their 4-1 victory over Blackburn.

It may have been snowing in these parts recently, but Tevez is on a real hot streak.

His seven-minute opener put City in charge, and then, after Micah Richards had added a brilliant second, he scored twice more after the interval to take his goals tally for the campaign to 15 as Blackburn were outclassed.

It was Mancini's fourth successive victory since replacing Mark Hughes, and although Morten Gamst Pedersen's effort left him watching his side concede for the first time, the Italian can be mightily pleased with himself.

Indeed, as he surveyed a table that sees City just seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea, fourth is by no means the summit of their ambitions.

There were two noteworthy presentations before kick-off.

The first was to introduce Patrick Vieira, who failed to overcome a calf injury and is therefore still waiting to make his City debut after joining last week from Inter Milan.

Tevez collected the second, which was the Barclays Premier League player-of-the-month award in recognition of his eight goals last month.

Such prizes have a habit of triggering a fallow period for the winner. Tevez has clearly never heard of the superstition judging by the forceful way he tried to unhinge the Rovers defence.

Tevez continually pushed Blackburn onto the back foot and had already identified himself as a dangerman before Paul Robinson's blunder provided him with the opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet once more.

Martin Petrov's corner seemed easy enough for Robinson to collect at his near post.

Inexplicably, the former England goalkeeper dropped the ball.

Benjani attacked it with relish and Tevez was in the right place to turn home the Zimbabwean's shot with his hip.

Then Tevez had to step aside to let Richards share the plaudits.

Like Robinson, the Blues defender has not featured for his country since that awful night at Wembley when Croatia knocked England out of Euro 2008 and Steve McClaren lost his job.

Richards' career seems to have stagnated since and more than once he has been linked to moves away from Eastlands.

Yet he is still only 21 and, in the right hands, has time to develop into the top-class defender City's academy chiefs always felt he would be.

Not that there was any defensive instinct about his goal, from either him or Blackburn.

Having endured almost half an hour of falling standards, Richards made his dramatic intervention when he intercepted a cross by Pedersen and began a gallop forward that took him across the halfway line before Rovers knew what was happening.

There was still no attempt at a tackle as Richards laid a pass off to Benjani 30 yards further upfield.

Having come so far, Richards thought he might as well keep going, so when Benjani's shot bounced off the inside of a post, it rolled back perfectly for him to fire home.

It might have been distinctly chilly in the north-west recently but Benjani has been in the cold at City for almost a year, during which time he made just three appearances.

But the former Portsmouth star, one of Sven-Goran Eriksson's signings, is a decent player and for the third time he turned provider four minutes after the re-start, chasing down Tevez's pass into the corner and then cutting a cross back to the same man.

As the South American cannot miss at present, it must have felt as though he had the entire stand to aim at. It was no surprise the expert finish nestled into the bottom right corner.

Tevez should have had a hat-trick when he dived to reach Pablo Zabaleta's chipped cross but, with the goal at his mercy, failed to find the target.

Not that it was a perfect evening for Mancini, who watched his side concede for the first time when Pedersen capitalised on a series of errors by Vincent Kompany and Shay Given to curl home a fine shot.

The scoring was not completed though.

Having blown one chance at a hat-trick, Tevez did not miss a second time when he was set up in stoppage time. That is 11 goals in nine games now.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Football
Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers
Carlos Tevez
Premier League
Micah Richards
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