Manchester City grabbed an important three points against Everton but it came at a cost, with 19-goal striker Sergio Aguero lasting just two minutes.
The Premier League champions were given the chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea after they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle, and they took full advantage by beating Everton 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
However, the victory was marred by an injury to Aguero which forced the striker off in the opening stages, and made him a huge doubt for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Roma.
A Yaya Toure penalty was enough to seal a fourth consecutive Premier League victory for the hosts, leaving them just three points behind Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
The spot kick was perhaps a harsh decision, but Phil Jagielka got close enough to James Milner to leave Andre Marriner a decision to make, though the referee probably made the wrong call.
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With usual captain Vincent Kompany missing through injury, it was up to stand in Toure to rally the troops and he did just that with a typically dominant display in central midfield, capped by his third goal in his last four City appearances .
In a game that will quickly be forgotten, the powerful midfielder was one of few men to impress, but that won't bother Manuel Pellegrini who will now turn his attention to Rome and a clash that will decide his teams Champions League fate.
While the return from the bench of Edin Dzeko did give Pellegrini reason to be cheerful, he'll be dreading the thought of traveling to Rome without Aguero at his disposal.
Manchester City Player Ratings
Joe Hart - 7
The England goalkeeper was a spectator for 80 minutes but pulled off a world class stop to deny Romelu Lukaku scoring with Everton's only real effort on goal. That save alone earns Hart his high rating.
Pablo Zabaleta - 6
The Argentine full-back scored an audacious chip in midweek but against Everton he, like his goalkeeper, rarely saw any action. Steady enough when called upon and attempted the odd foray forward.
Martin Demichelis - 7
With Kompany out it was up to Demichelis to provide an experience head in central defence and he did just that. Showed all the concentration required of a top centre-back by denying Samuel Eto'o in the dying minutes.
Eliaquim Mangala - 4
Life in the Premier League has been one big struggle for Mangala since his superb debut performance against Chelsea. Should have seen red for a first half challenge on Eto'o as he attempted to attack a corner with a high boot that would have been more at home in the WWE.
Gael Clichy - 6
Would have expected a tough test coming up against Seamus Coleman but was seldom troubled by the Everton man and produced a disciplined display.
Jesus Navas - 5
Promises so much with his regular pacey bursts but City need him to produce an end product far more frequently. It was no surprise to see him withdrawn as the hosts looked to shut up shop.
Fernando - 5
Hard to see what he offers City when in possession, and like Mangala he was guilty of a dangerously high foot in the first half.
Yaya Toure - 8
Three goals in four games suggests the big man is starting to find the form he produced last season. Was the dominant man in a 90-minute long midfield battle.
James Milner - 7
The City man is probably still running now such is his endless energy and it was his constant movement that forced Jagielka into the match-deciding challenge. Becoming a key man for Pellegrini this season.
Samir Nasri - 6
Been appointed creator in chief during David Silva's absence and looked lively in the opening stages, but, like the game itself, he quickly faded. Should have shot when found by Milner in acres of space in the Everton box.
Sergio Aguero - N/A
The fact he remains the major talking point despite only being on the field of play for two minutes highlights his importance to City. Vital he returns quickly from knee injury.
Jose Angel Pozo - 5
Replaced Aguero early on and was denied a first Premier League goal by a good save from Tim Howard. Lasted an hour before being sacrificed for a more experienced option.
Edin Dzeko - 5
Came off the bench for Pozo shortly after the hour mark but was bereft of service during his 30 minute cameo.
Frank Lampard - N/A
Came on for the final ten minutes as City looked to close the game out but saw little of the ball.
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