Gareth Barry struck in injury-time to break Reading hearts after a huge defensive effort from the Premier League basement boys.
The England international headed home from close range in the third minute of stoppage time, with the defensive midfielder meeting Sergio Aguero’s cross perfectly to make it 1-0.
Brian McDermott will be left to rue a contentious penalty decision that didn’t go his side’s way in the second-half, with Mike Dean saying no to a foul on Jay Tabb by debutant Karim Rekik.
The Premier League champions struggled to get going throughout, and despite dominating possession and shots at the Etihad Stadium, the Citizens wouldn’t have been able to complain if the match had ended in a stalemate.
Adam Federici was impressive for the travelling Royals in goal, but could do nothing to prevent the late winner as the champions showed their credentials once again.
It’s a result that leaves the Royals rooted to the bottom of the table, whilst Roberto Mancini’s side cut the gap at the top of the table to three points.