Edin Dzeko's first-half strike was enough to give Manchester City a hard-fought victory over West Brom.

The Baggies started well and Romelu Lukaku spurned three early chances.

City improved and, shortly after Carlos Tevez hit the bar, Dzeko volleyed home from 12 yards.

Markus Rosenberg hit the bar for West Brom in the second half, while Jack Rodwell went close for City who ensured Champions League qualification with the victory.

It was an accomplished performance from Roberto Mancini's men, who made eight changes with Saturday's FA Cup final in mind yet still created enough chances to have won more comfortably.

Mancini on 'important' victory

Only Joe Hart, who is unlikely to play at Wembley,  Samir Nasri and James Milner retained their places in the starting line-up as the Blues moved to within three points of clinching the Premier League runners-up spot ahead of Chelsea.

While Mancini may already know his first-choice side for City's second FA Cup final appearance in three years, Tevez and Rodwell will have given him plenty to ponder.

With the Baggies playing three central defenders, including Craig Dawson who is back from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, the recalled pair dropped into the space created in front of the static backline and caused plenty of problems.

All of City's best moves were orchestrated by Argentine striker Tevez, with Rodwell's late runs from deep lacking a finishing touch which would have added a more flattering look to the scoreline.

But it might have been different if Lukaku had converted one of three good, early chances.

Keeping it tight

Manchester City kept their 17th Premier League clean sheet of the season. They have only kept more in 2010-11 (18)

The young Belgian striker capitalised on City's defensive reshuffle to twice shoot on goal from the edge of the box before he headed straight into Hart's grateful arms when unmarked eight yards out.

City were also lucky to keep their full quota on the pitch when Aleksandar Kolarov caught Gabriel Tamas with a high boot which briefly forced the Baggies defender off the pitch for treatment to a bloodied head.

Slowly, City's confidence began to grow and Milner shot wide from eight yards under pressure from Liam Ridgewell before Tevez rattled the bar from 25 yards out.

Their pressure finally brought reward when Nasri dispossessed Youssouf Mulumbu in his own half and the home side swept forward through Tevez on the right. He pulled the ball back to Dzeko, who volleyed home.

City continued to dominate, with Rodwell having an effort cleared off the line and then firing over the bar while Milner hit the post from long range.

Baggies deserved a point - Clarke

West Brom regained their composure after the break and Rosenberg was denied by the woodwork from a 25-yard free-kick before Billy Jones's follow-up was saved down to his right by Hart.

James Morrison also had a shot tipped around the post by England's number one, but City remained a threat at the other end with Rodwell's shot from six yards being blocked by Tamas and the midfielder's angled shot being parried by Boaz Myhill.

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie, who unsuccessfully tried to secure a move to QPR on transfer deadline day, made his first appearance since 30 March and was given a cool reception by the travelling fans.

The Baggies, who remain eighth, almost snatched a point when substitute Shane Long nipped in front of Joleon Lescott but the Irish striker fired into the side netting as City held on to go seven points clear in second.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:

"Edin Dzeko has scored important goals this season. I think he can do better. For me he is a top striker but he could score more goals.

"It is clear he didn't play all the games. I think he is one of the best in Europe for me but he can do better than this year.

"With his goal we are in the Champions League and probably in second position."

West Brom boss Steve Clarke:

"The way the players applied themselves was excellent.

"We played well and were unlucky not to get something. We had chances, Joe Hart made his usual number of good saves.

"In the first half we had a spell where we lost our way a little bit, we lost momentum, made a few mistakes and encouraged them into the game.

"When you encourage a team like Manchester City into the game they will punish you, and that is what they did."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart
  • 02 Richards
  • 06 Lescott
  • 13 Kolarov Booked
  • 28 K Toure
  • 07 Milner
  • 08 Nasri Booked (Barry - 73' )
  • 14 Garcia
  • 17 Rodwell (Maicon - 76' )
  • 10 Dzeko
  • 32 Tevez (Razak - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 03 Maicon
  • 33 Nastasic
  • 18 Barry
  • 21 Silva
  • 62 Razak
  • 16 Aguero

West Bromwich Albion

  • 13 Myhill
  • 03 Olsson
  • 06 Ridgewell
  • 25 Dawson
  • 28 Jones
  • 30 Tamas (Long - 81' )
  • 05 Yacob Booked (Dorrans - 71' )
  • 07 Morrison
  • 21 Mulumbu
  • 08 Rosenberg (Odemwingie - 76' )
  • 20 Lukaku

Substitutes

  • 01 Foster
  • 02 Reid
  • 04 Popov
  • 23 McAuley
  • 17 Dorrans
  • 09 Long
  • 24 Odemwingie
Ref: Dowd
Att: 46,158

Match Stats

Shots

21 20

On target

9 11

Corners

6 8

Fouls

10 9

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:38 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +0:39

Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +0:39 Substitution

Substitution Abdul Razak on for Carlos Tevez.

90:00 +0:39

The referee blows for offside.

88:16

Free kick awarded for a foul by Sisenando Maicon on Peter Odemwingie. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Billy Jones, blocked by Joleon Lescott.

87:21

Gareth Barry takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.

86:49

Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Blocked by Billy Jones.

85:34

Peter Odemwingie has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.

84:12

Effort on goal by Sisenando Maicon from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

82:28

Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Jonas Olsson gets a block in.

80:58

Effort from deep inside the area by Shane Long misses to the right of the goal.

80:08 Substitution

Substitution Shane Long comes on in place of Gabriel Tamas.

80:08

Effort from just outside the area by Liam Ridgewell goes over the bar.

79:42

Billy Jones takes a shot. Francisco Javi Garcia gets a block in.

79:12

A cross is delivered by Gabriel Tamas, save by Joe Hart.

77:52

Peter Odemwingie takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Blocked by Joleon Lescott. Corner taken short by James Morrison.

75:19

Joleon Lescott takes the direct free kick.

75:19 Substitution

Substitution Sisenando Maicon joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jack Rodwell.

75:19 Substitution

Substitution Peter Odemwingie replaces Markus Rosenberg.

75:19

Craig Dawson concedes a free kick for a foul on Edin Dzeko.

74:48

Centre by Gabriel Tamas, Markus Rosenberg takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.

72:31 Substitution

Substitution (Man City) makes a substitution, with Gareth Barry coming on for Samir Nasri.

71:12

Billy Jones fouled by Joleon Lescott, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gabriel Tamas.

70:53

James Milner takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.

69:56

Free kick taken by Micah Richards.

69:56 Substitution

Substitution Graham Dorrans on for Claudio Yacob.

69:56

James Morrison challenges Carlos Tevez unfairly and gives away a free kick.

68:57

Markus Rosenberg takes a shot. Jack Rodwell gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by James Morrison from the left by-line.

65:33

Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Aleksandar Kolarov.

65:33 Booking

Booking Samir Nasri is booked.

65:26 Booking

Booking Claudio Yacob is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

64:56

Samir Nasri fouled by Claudio Yacob, the ref awards a free kick.

63:03

James Milner takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Dawson. Jack Rodwell takes a shot. Boaz Myhill makes a save. Corner taken by James Milner from the left by-line.

61:55

Claudio Yacob gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francisco Javi Garcia. Francisco Javi Garcia restarts play with the free kick.

60:35

Corner taken by James Morrison from the right by-line, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.

59:23

Joleon Lescott concedes a free kick for a foul on Romelu Lukaku. James Morrison crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, clearance made by Kolo Toure. Corner taken by James Morrison, Micah Richards manages to make a clearance.

57:54

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by James Morrison, clearance by Jack Rodwell.

54:43

James Morrison takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by James Morrison, clearance made by Micah Richards.

47:49

Francisco Javi Garcia concedes a free kick for a foul on Markus Rosenberg. Markus Rosenberg has an effort direct from the free kick, Billy Jones takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart. Markus Rosenberg has an effort at goal from outside the area which misses left.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +3:15 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

45:00 +1:19

Shot from deep inside the area by Jack Rodwell clears the bar.

44:36

Shot from 25 yards from James Morrison. Save by Joe Hart.

44:19

Foul by Joleon Lescott on Romelu Lukaku, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Gabriel Tamas.

43:17

James Milner has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box hitting the post.

42:31

Jack Rodwell takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Dawson. Corner taken short by Carlos Tevez.

42:01

James Milner produces a cross, Jack Rodwell produces a volleyed left-footed shot from 12 yards. Craig Dawson gets a block in.

39:52

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Carlos Tevez.

39:09

Carlos Tevez produces a cross, Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Claudio Yacob gets a block in.

36:25

Romelu Lukaku has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the target.

34:46

Carlos Tevez provided the assist for the goal.

34:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Edin Dzeko - Man City 1 - 0 West Brom Edin Dzeko grabs a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 1-0 West Brom.

34:44

Carlos Tevez crosses the ball,

34:05

Aleksandar Kolarov takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.

33:50

Foul by Claudio Yacob on James Milner, free kick awarded. Samir Nasri takes the free kick.

33:30

Shot from 20 yards from Carlos Tevez.

32:45

Carlos Tevez delivers a pass corner to short.

32:32

James Milner produces a cross.

31:01

Effort from inside the area by James Milner misses to the right of the goal.

30:44

The ball is delivered by James Milner, save by Boaz Myhill.

30:17

Short corner taken by James Milner.

29:20

Markus Rosenberg takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.

26:43

Corner taken right-footed by James Morrison from the left by-line, Shot by Youssouf Mulumbu. Francisco Javi Garcia gets a block in.

25:56

Effort on goal by Carlos Tevez from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

25:28

Samir Nasri fouled by Claudio Yacob, the ref awards a free kick. Carlos Tevez takes the free kick.

24:12

James Morrison takes the direct free kick.

24:12 Booking

Booking Aleksandar Kolarov receives a caution.

22:29

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gabriel Tamas by Aleksandar Kolarov.

21:48

Unfair challenge on James Morrison by Francisco Javi Garcia results in a free kick. Claudio Yacob restarts play with the free kick.

19:31

Liam Ridgewell challenges James Milner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from right wing, Boaz Myhill makes a save. Jack Rodwell conjures a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.

19:01

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Samir Nasri, save made by Boaz Myhill.

18:25

Carlos Tevez takes a shot. Claudio Yacob gets a block in.

14:01

Liam Ridgewell fouled by James Milner, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jonas Olsson.

11:50

Markus Rosenberg handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Samir Nasri.

11:19

Unfair challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov by Romelu Lukaku results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Samir Nasri.

10:18

Markus Rosenberg has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.

9:40

Free kick awarded for a foul by Micah Richards on Liam Ridgewell. Free kick taken by Claudio Yacob.

8:30

Shot from just outside the penalty area by Carlos Tevez misses to the left of the target.

5:05

Francisco Javi Garcia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Romelu Lukaku. James Morrison delivers the ball, Romelu Lukaku takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.

3:57

Romelu Lukaku has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.

3:23

A cross is delivered by Romelu Lukaku.

2:26

Corner taken right-footed by James Morrison from the right by-line, Francisco Javi Garcia manages to make a clearance.

1:58

Markus Rosenberg concedes a free kick for a foul on Micah Richards. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.

1:31

Romelu Lukaku takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.

0:00

The game kicks-off.

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