Manchester City kept up the pressure on title rivals Chelsea as they beat Stoke to stay three points behind the Premier League leaders.

The hosts had struggled to break down their stubborn opponents and almost went behind when Charlie Adam had a shot palmed wide by keeper Joe Hart.

But the unconvincing home side broke the deadlock when Yaya Toure swept in a low Aleksandar Kolarov cross.

Edin Dzeko should have doubled the lead but mistimed a shot from four yards.

Man City 1-0 Stoke City: Manuel Pellegrini says getting win was crucial

The hosts knew the importance of a victory over Stoke, having seen title rivals Chelsea beat Everton in the early kick-off, yet lacked the urgency they might have been expected to show until Toure's effort.

The Ivory Coast international's goal came moments after manager Manuel Pellegrini had replaced injured substitute Stevan Jovetic - who managed only 13 minutes - with Javi Garcia, and pushed Toure further up the pitch.

Defeat means Stoke, who have now gone 11 league matches without a clean sheet, are just three points above the relegation zone.

However, they can take some consolation from a resolute display that saw them give their hosts, who appeared to be feeling the effects of a midweek Champions League defeat by Barcelona, two early scares.

First Potters defender Ryan Shawcross glanced a header wide from a free-kick before midfielder Adam had a low, angled strike from long range touched wide by Hart.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes, a former manager at the Etihad Stadium, had set his side up to frustrate the hosts by defending deep, and the ploy was proving a success.

Analysis

"Yaya Toure's goal won it seconds after a tactical change by the manager. The switch paid off for a very important and hard-won victory."

Pellegrini's side have been finding the free-flowing football and abundant goals that have marked their season harder to come by in recent games and rarely threatened.

The closest they came before the break was when Dzeko gathered a David Silva pass, played a one-two with Alvaro Negredo and curled a 22-yard shot just wide.

Dzeko also sent a 10-yard effort high after the interval before Pellegrini tried to kick-start his side by bringing on Jovetic for the ineffectual Negredo.

Jovetic had a fizzing 25-yard shot saved before he was in turn removed, and replaced by defensive midfielder Garcia in a switch that turned the game.

Almost immediately, Toure arrived in the Stoke area and was on hand to finish a move that involved Samir Nasri and Kolarov in the build-up.

Playing with more freedom after the goal, the home side should have extended their lead when Jesus Navas squared the ball across for Dzeko, only for the forward to get his feet tangled and miss from close range.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini:

"Stoke were defending with 10 players in their box. It was very important to be concentrated for counter-attacks and set pieces. Both things were important, to keep a clean sheet and to be patient.

Man City 1-0 Stoke City: Mark Hughes says defeat not damaging

"I thought we controlled the game and it was a matter of time before we scored.

"Stevan Jovetic felt his hamstring so we will see what the doctor says.

"We will see about Sergio Aguero. He will start working with the team on Tuesday. We will see during the team if he is fit to play in the Capital one Cup final."

Stoke boss Mark Hughes:

"We are disappointed because we put in a huge effort. We were excellent in the first half.

"We came here with a gameplan and we executed it really well.

"I thought we were a threat on the break when we regained possession and out of possession we were organised. They found us really hard to break down.

"In the end, we have just made a couple of errors which led to the goal and they were grateful to get the goal and the three points."

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart
  • 05 Zabaleta
  • 13 Kolarov
  • 42 Yaya Touré
  • 04 Kompany Booked
  • 26 Demichelis
  • 08 Nasri
  • 25 Fernandinho Booked (Javi García - 63' )
  • 10 Dzeko Booked
  • 09 Negredo (Jovetic - 56' )
  • 21 Silva

Substitutes

  • 06 Lescott
  • 07 Milner
  • 14 Javi García
  • 15 Jesús Navas
  • 22 Clichy
  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 35 Jovetic (Javi García - 69' )

Stoke City

  • 01 Begovic
  • 20 Cameron
  • 03 Pieters
  • 16 Adam Booked
  • 17 Shawcross
  • 12 Wilson
  • 09 Odemwingie
  • 06 Whelan (Etherington - 82' )
  • 25 Crouch
  • 19 Walters (Ireland - 78' )
  • 10 Arnautovic (Palacios - 69' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Muniesa
  • 08 Palacios
  • 15 N'Zonzi
  • 26 Etherington
  • 28 Wilkinson
  • 29 Sørensen
  • 32 Ireland
Ref: Chris Foy
Att: 47,038

Match Stats

Shots

19 7

On target

7 2

Corners

8 3

Fouls

16 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Manchester City 1, Stoke City 0.

90:00 +5:07 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester City 1, Stoke City 0.

90:00 +3:11

Jesús Navas (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +3:11

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

90:00 +2:28

Attempt missed. Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Erik Pieters with a cross.

90:00 +1:05

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

90:00 +0:15

Delay in match Yaya Touré (Manchester City) because of an injury.

89:43 Booking

Booking Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

89:37

Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).

89:37

Matthew Etherington (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:18

Javi García (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

82:18

Foul by Wilson Palacios (Stoke City).

81:45

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:45

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

81:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Matthew Etherington replaces Glenn Whelan.

80:56

Foul by David Silva (Manchester City).

80:56

Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78:51

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

77:22

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Peter Odemwingie.

77:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Stephen Ireland replaces Jonathan Walters.

76:39

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

76:37

Attempt saved. Javi García (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

75:21

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

75:21

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:50

Foul by David Silva (Manchester City).

73:50

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:35 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 1, Stoke City 0. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

69:07

Javi García (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:07

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

68:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Javi García replaces Stevan Jovetic because of an injury.

68:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Wilson Palacios replaces Marko Arnautovic.

66:29

Attempt saved. Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Silva.

63:07

Attempt missed. Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

62:37

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

62:37

Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

62:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Fernandinho.

61:49

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the right side of the six yard box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a cross following a corner.

61:22

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Martín Demichelis.

60:14

Attempt blocked. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stevan Jovetic.

58:08

Samir Nasri (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:08

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

57:26

Hand ball by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).

56:47

Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

56:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Stevan Jovetic replaces Álvaro Negredo.

55:21

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

55:21

Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

54:19

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:19

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

53:39

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

53:39

Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:07

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

52:35

Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

52:35

Foul by Glenn Whelan (Stoke City).

51:05

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

51:05

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:27

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:27

Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City).

47:23

Attempt missed. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by David Silva.

45:00

Second Half begins Manchester City 0, Stoke City 0.

45:00 +2:18 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Manchester City 0, Stoke City 0.

45:00 +1:57

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +1:57

Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

45:00 +1:23

Attempt saved. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

44:29

Attempt missed. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

43:45

Offside, Stoke City. Geoff Cameron tries a through ball, but Peter Crouch is caught offside.

43:33

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

42:52

Delay in match Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) because of an injury.

42:23

Foul by Martín Demichelis (Manchester City).

42:23

Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

41:16

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Fernandinho.

40:30

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

39:14

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

35:47

Attempt missed. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Edin Dzeko with a headed pass following a corner.

35:16

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

35:14

Attempt blocked. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

34:52

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

34:52

Foul by Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City).

34:12

Foul by Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).

34:12

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

33:19 Booking

Booking Charlie Adam (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

33:11

Samir Nasri (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

33:11

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

31:23

Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

30:25 Booking

Booking Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

30:18

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

30:18

Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

29:49

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

29:49

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

29:27

Attempt saved. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Pablo Zabaleta.

27:35

Offside, Stoke City. Marko Arnautovic tries a through ball, but Erik Pieters is caught offside.

26:59

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

25:45

Attempt saved. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

24:44

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

23:37

Delay in match Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) because of an injury.

20:07

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Joe Hart.

20:05

Attempt saved. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.

18:48

Offside, Stoke City. Glenn Whelan tries a through ball, but Ryan Shawcross is caught offside.

18:03

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

16:54

Foul by Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).

16:54

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

16:14

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

16:14

Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:40 Booking

Booking Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

14:21

Foul by Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).

14:21

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

13:34

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

13:32

Attempt blocked. Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

12:51

Foul by Martín Demichelis (Manchester City).

12:51

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

7:33

Attempt missed. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jonathan Walters following a set piece situation.

7:08

Foul by Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City).

7:08

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:34

Attempt missed. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by David Silva with a cross following a corner.

6:10

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

6:05

Attempt saved. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Silva.

3:36

Attempt saved. Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.

1:01

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Glenn Whelan with a cross.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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