Silva scores twice as City beats Fulham 2-0
(AP Photo/Jon Super)
MANCHESTER, England (AP) David Silva scored in each half as Manchester City beat Fulham 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Spaniard put the defending champions ahead in the second minute after Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had saved Edin Dzeko's shot.
A clever pass from Carlos Tevez put Silva through in the 69th to double the lead at the Etihad Stadium. Silva could have completed a hat trick moments later but shot narrowly wide.
Second-place City provisionally moved four points behind league leader Manchester United, which plays at Tottenham on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini's team looked confident from the outset against a side that had won just two of its previous 14 league games.
City made a blistering start as Dzeko took up an early attack and was allowed to shoot from 25 yards (meters) and Silva followed up to rifle in the rebound.
Fulham was unable to get anything going in response and Gareth Barry took command in midfield.
James Milner linked well with Pablo Zabaleta before floating an inviting cross into the box but it dropped inches over Tevez's head.
Fulham played a patient game and tried to build slowly but it yielded little until just after the half hour when Damien Duff found room on the right. Steve Sidwell got free at the back post and was picked out by a good cross from Duff but his glancing header struck the outside of the post.
Ashkan Dejagah played in Dimitar Berbatov just before the break but City held firm as Vincent Kompany denied the Bulgarian the chance to shoot.
Fulham made a positive start to the second half as they created a chance for Sidwell outside the area but he sliced well wide and City upped the tempo, earning its second goal following some brilliant play by Silva and Tevez.
Silva started the move, finding Gael Clichy out wide whose pass was cleverly flicked back into Silva's path by Tevez. Silva then did the rest, running into the area and hitting a delicate left-foot lob over Schwarzer to score off the post.
City fans were still celebrating the goal when Silva went close to claiming a hat trick, running through in almost identical fashion but this time rolling a low shot inches just wide of the far post.
Dzeko went close with a fierce drive before Mancini decided to give fit-again Sergio Aguero a run-out in the latter stages, in his first outing since tearing a hamstring on New Year's Day.
Dzeko should have scored a third in injury time but scooped over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.
Updated January 19, 2013