Man City beats Wigan 2-0 in Premier League
(AP Photo / Dave Thompson)
WIGAN, England (AP) Mario Balotelli and James Milner scored in the second half Wednesday as defending champion Manchester City finally wore down a spirited Wigan for a 2-0 victory in the Premier League.
City took time to warm up on a freezing night and Wigan had several chances before Balotelli netted the opener in the 69th minute with his first Premier League goal since March.
Milner then doubled the lead with a hard swerving shot from outside the area three minutes later before being forced off with a hamstring injury.
The result extended City's unbeaten league run to 20 matches and kept the team within a point of leader Manchester United.
Balotelli was making his first start in six matches and, after a mostly frustrating night, eventually justified Roberto Mancini's selection of him ahead of Edin Dzeko.
Balotelli sent a free kick over in the second half and then had a glaring miss when he headed wide from close range at the far post from an inch-perfect cross by Maicon.
But Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was unable to hold Gareth Barry's low strike from the edge of the area in the 69th minute and Balotelli was quick to react.
The Italian's first effort was blocked, but he made no mistake with the second chance and he emphatically tucked away his third goal of the season in all competitions.
There was a slight delay to play restarting as Balotelli ran off to celebrate with substitute Carlos Tevez, who was warming up on the touchline.
City put the result beyond doubt just three minutes later as substitute Milner, brought on for the ineffective Javi Garcia, found the top corner with a stunning long-range strike.
Maicon should have added a third after being presented the ball by Emmerson Boyce's poor clearance but side-footed wide with Al Habsi beaten.
Updated November 28, 2012