Premier League: Reading 0 Manchester City 2
By Football News
Manchester City started life without Roberto Mancini as they earned a 2-0 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday.
City dispensed with the services of Mancini on Monday following their FA Cup final defeat to Wigan, and were made to work for their win, with Sergio Aguero's first-half strike and Edin Dzeko's late goal enough to take maximum points.
Caretaker boss Brian Kidd made three changes to City's defeated FA Cup final defence, restoring Micah Richards, Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott, while Reading were unchanged from last weekend's 4-2 win at Fulham.
The visitors made a strong start, James Milner testing Alex McCarthy in the opening minute, before Aguero forced the Reading shot-stopper into a fine save just three minutes later.
City's early onslaught showed no signs of letting up and McCarthy was required to show his excellent reflexes once more, the 23-year-old making a superb double stop to deny James Milner and then Aguero at the end of a wonderful sweeping attack from the beaten FA Cup finalists.
The City defence suffered a blow after 15 minutes, as Kolo Toure was forced off through injury and replaced by Maicon, but it was of little concern to a visiting forward line who continued to press with vigour and energy.
The Royals did manage to stymie the City attack somewhat and did have a chance after 28 minutes, Gareth McCleary's curling effort forcing a decent save from Joe Hart.
Reading could not hold on forever, though, and five minutes before the interval they were breached, Aguero coolly slotting home at the end of a brilliantly constructed short corner routine.
The former Atletico Madrid man saw a long-range effort beaten away by McCarthy a minute later, and the visitors must have been wondering how they had not led by more when Gael Clichy fired over following another piece of sumptuous football.
Reading were able to keep the deficit to one until the break and they almost levelled, Hart performing heroics to prevent Pavel Pogrebnyak from nodding home a Danny Guthrie cross.
City responded in kind and it was McCarthy to the rescue again as he tipped away a fierce drive from Yaya Toure.
The midfielder stung the goalkeeper's palms again with 19 minutes of normal time remaining, however, Nigel Adkins' men refused to lie down and went agonisingly close to a leveller as Adrian Mariappa's goalbound header was cleared by Carlos Tevez.
Jem Karacan forced another save from Hart with a long-range strike but any hopes of a home fightback were extinguished as substitute Dzeko latched onto an exquisite reverse pass from David Silva before checking inside and easing the ball past a despairing McCarthy to seal the win.