City come unstuck against Everton: Match Review

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Roberto Mancini received a reminder, if he needed one, at Goodison Park of how tough life can be in the Barclays Premier League.

After seeing his Manchester City side win their first four games in all competitions, the Italian manager had to endure the bitter taste of defeat.

Steven Pienaar's opener and Louis Saha's penalty gave Everton a deserved 2-0 victory and reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the campaign.

City were found wanting - not least Robinho, who suffered the ignominy of being substituted after replacing the injured Roque Santa Cruz.

The got off to a good start though and Martin Petrov strode forward before delivering a rasping shot that goalkeeper Tim Howard was content to parry to safety.

The home side hit back and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov sent a header into Shay Given's arms following a cross from Landon Donovan on his home debut.

Robinho then had a half-chance for City following a flick on from Carlos Tevez but cleared the bar with his effort.

Play switched back down the other end and Donovan came close to making the breakthrough in the 20th minute.

He clipped the ball beyond Given but narrowly wide of the post after being set up by Saha.

Donovan then swung in a corner from the left three minutes later and Marouane Fellaini peeled away from his marker only to deliver a weak header that Given collected comfortably.

Everton stepped up the pace and Fellaini cracked a shot wide before Bilyaletdinov saw his close-range effort turned over the top by Given in the 27th minute.

Pienaar made the breakthrough in the 36th minute after Pablo Zabaleta's challenge on Saha.

The South African took the free-kick and from 20 yards curled the ball beyond Given at the goalkeeper's near post.

Everton almost got a second seven minutes later after Bilyaletdinov brushed aside Zabaleta and raced into the box. However, the Russian snatched at his shot and sent it wide of the target.

Craig Bellamy went close for City before Everton added a second in first-half stoppage time.

Saha scored a cool penalty in the wake of City protests after he had his shirt tugged by Micah Richards.

City boss Mancini made a change at half-time, bringing on Benjani Mwaruwari to give Tevez some support with Petrov remaining in the dressing room.

The main concern for the former Inter Milan boss was that there was little invention from midfield.

Everton were playing with confidence but there was some anxiety in their ranks when Pienaar went to ground after a challenge from Richards in the 55th minute.

Pienaar looked shaken up but after brief treatment returned to help his side.

City were struggling to get a foothold in the game and Mancini had obviously seen enough from Robinho to know he was not testing the opposition.

He decided to replace the ineffective substitute and bring on Shaun Wright-Phillips in the 62nd minute.

It was another setback for Robinho, who had tested the patience of the previous manager Mark Hughes.

Everton were holding firm at this stage with former City defender Distin not giving an inch.

Toffees boss David Moyes, however, decided not to push Distin too much after his injury and brought on Seamus Coleman in the 70th minute.

Everton were keeping their shape well and almost extended their lead after two swift counter-attacks

Fellaini got on the end of Pienaar's corner in the 79th minute but Given reacted superbly to tip his header onto the post.

Then a minute later Tim Cahill smacked the bar as the visitors again found themselves on the back foot.

City kept pushing forward but to no avail as Everton dealt a blow to their hopes of clinching a Champions League place.

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Manchester City
Premier League
Steven Pienaar
Louis Saha

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