Tevez scores three, Man City routs Norwich
NORWICH, England (AP) Carlos Tevez scored a hat trick and set up another goal in an impressive display Saturday as Manchester City beat Norwich 6-1 to keep its Premier League title hopes alive.
Tevez showed exactly what City has missed during his long absence this season by dominating proceedings at Carrow Road and linking up well with fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero in only his second start since returning to the club in February.
The Argentina striker stunned Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy with a swerving strike from the right edge of the area to open the scoring in the 18th minute, and then set up Aguero with a playful backheel pass for the second goal in the 27th.
While Andrew Surman gave Norwich hope by pulling a goal back right after the break, Tevez and Aguero added their second goals in a two-minute span in the second half to put the result beyond doubt. Tevez then completed his hat trick by rounding Ruddy and slotting the ball into an empty net in the 80th.
Aguero was denied his own hat trick when he hit the post in injury time, but Adam Johnson added the sixth moments later.
The win cuts City's gap to leader Manchester United to two points ahead of its rival's game against Aston Villa on Sunday - and probably leaves some fans wondering whether the title couldn't have already been decided if Tevez had been playing this whole season.
The forward fell out with manager Roberto Mancini after refusing to warm up for a Champions League game in September and then left the club to spend several months in Argentina without permission. After making an official apology and being allowed back by Mancini, Tevez also scored against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday in his first start since September.
``We did well this season also without Carlos for four or five months,'' Mancini. ``But I'm sure if we had Carlos with Aguero ... we would have scored more goals.''
That duo certainly looked formidable on Saturday.
Aguero and David Silva combined to set up Tevez for the opener, as the former United striker surprised Ruddy by unleashing a fierce 25-yard shot that swerved past the goalkeeper at his near post.
The second goal was even more spectacular, as Tevez and Aguero exchanged passes twice on a counterattack, the second of which was a clever backheel that Aguero volleyed home from 20 yards.
Norwich came out stronger after the break and Surman rifled a 20-yard shot into the net to give the home side hopes of a comeback. That was shortlived, however, Norwich's resistance was broken again in the 73rd minute thanks to Tevez's second.
Ruddy blocked Yaya Toure's powerful drive, the ball flew up in the air, and Tevez beat his marker to nod home into an empty net.
Less than 90 seconds later City were up 4-1 up. This time it was Aguero who struck, curling a wonderful 20-yard effort beyond the outstretched Ruddy.
Tevez's remarkable afternoon was completed with 10 minutes to go when he beat the offside trap and rounded Ruddy before calmly slotting into the open net. He was substituted shortly afterward, but Johnson finished the scoring from six yards in injury time.