Man City closes in on Chelsea with narrow 1-0 win over Everton
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — An injury to star striker Sergio Aguero cast a shadow over champion Manchester City's hard-fought 1-0 win over Everton in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Yaya Toure converted a first-half penalty as City cut Chelsea's lead at the top to only three points, but the immediate concern was for top scorer Aguero.
The Argentine appeared in tears after hurting his left knee in the second minute of what proved a dull contest at Etihad Stadium, giving City a major Champions League fitness scare.
City travels to Roma for its decisive final group game on Wednesday. It is already without the suspended Toure while two other key players, Vincent Kompany and David Silva, require fitness tests.
"(Aguero) has a problem in his ligament, in his knee," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "We will see tomorrow how serious it is but it's not good news, I don't think he will be able to play next week."
Aguero went down clutching his knee after a challenge by Muhamed Besic.
He limped halfway round the field and headed down the tunnel, leaving City anxiously awaiting news of his condition.
Edin Dzeko, back on the bench after a calf injury, initially seemed the man to take his place but Pellegrini opted to give youngster Jose Pozo a chance in the lone front role.
The loss of Aguero dampened the atmosphere and it was not until the 20th minute that City first seriously threatened but Toure dragged a shot well wide.
The picture changed soon after when referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot after a coming together between James Milner and Phil Jagielka in the area. Milner went down but quickly got up and did not appear to be looking for a penalty, but Marriner felt he had been impeded. Toure did not argue and rifled home the spot kick.
Chances were few and far between, although Samir Nasri created a good opportunity for City with a nice turn, only for Sylvain Distin to get his head in the way. At the other end Kevin Mirallas had a volley deflected wide as he latched on to Pablo Zabaleta's clearance.
City had another injury scare when Toure hurt his knee, also after being challenged by Besic, but he soon ran it off.
Pozo had a great chance to double the hosts' lead early in the second half after fine work by Milner down the left. The 18-year-old Spaniard looked certain to score as he was picked out in front of goal but Tim Howard, sent the wrong way, somehow saved with his feet.
Samuel Eto'o almost equalized as Everton, with Ross Barkley introduced off the bench, tried to force themselves back into the game.
City sent on Frank Lampard in the hope of finding extra impetus and the veteran midfielder made an instant impact. Lampard picked out Dzeko with a fine crossfield pass and the Bosnian's nod-down fell nicely for Milner — but he miscued his volley.
As the game went into the last 10 minutes England goalkeeper Joe Hart showed why he is reportedly poised to sign a lucrative new deal with a fine one-handed save to keep out a powerful volley from Romelu Lukaku.