Soccer

Manchester City passes 100-goal mark in rout of Cardiff

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The Canadian Press
1/18/2014 2:11:22 PM
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MANCHESTER, England - Rampant Manchester City passed the 100-goal mark in all competitions this season by overwhelming Cardiff 4-2 on Saturday to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the English Premier League.

Edin Dzeko brought up the century after just 34 matches with a scruffy opening goal in the 14th minute. Its validity was confirmed on the giant screens by the Goal Decision System, capping an early period of sustained dominance by the hosts.

Craig Noone equalized for Cardiff in the 29th but Jesus Navas quickly restored City's lead, and second-half goals by Yaya Toure and substitute Sergio Aguero kept up the team's 100 per cent home record in the league.

Fraizer Campbell scored an injury-time consolation for the visiting Welsh side, which finds itself at the bottom of the table and ensures a miserable return to Manchester for Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former Norway spent 11 years at City's fierce rival, Manchester United, before retiring in 2007.

The previous quickest team to reach the 100-goal milestone in a season was Chelsea, which took 42 games last season. That record has been obliterated by City with just five months of the campaign gone.

If City's finishing had been at the level Solskjaer regularly demonstrated in his pomp at Old Trafford, Cardiff could easily have lost by a nine- or 10-goal margin. As it was, the hosts had only a narrow half time lead to show for their dominance.

Dzeko, under pressure for his starting place with the return to fitness of Aguero after a month out with a calf injury, set City on its way after 14 minutes by turning in a short cut-back from David Silva. The ball only crept over the line but referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to his watch to indicate the goal was valid, and replays on the big screens were cheered by home fans.

That pushed City onto 100 goals and Alvaro Negredo wasted two great chances before Noone ran onto Jordon Mutch's pass, shimmied past Vincent Kompany and beat Joe Hart at his near post in the 29th.

Cardiff's players barely had time to celebrate before they were behind again. As Dzeko prepared to shoot from the edge of the box, Steven Caulker slid in with the tackle but the ball fell to the inrushing Navas, who sidefooted into the corner.

The visitors made it to the hour mark unscathed, but they were given no respite as Aguero was thrown on by Pellegrini to help secure the three points.

He did just that, setting up Toure for the midfielder to drive a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner in the 76th minute. Aguero then scored himself three minutes later by twisting and turning his marker to smash a powerful strike past goalkeeper David Marshall.

Campbell swept in a finish from close range in injury time but Cardiff was well beaten and will spend at least the next week-and-a-half at the foot of the table.

Jesus Navas (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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