BY JUSTIN FERGUSON
Carlos Tevez’s goal in first half stoppage time was all that Manchester City needed to get the three points at Aston Villa on Monday night.
Tevez took advantage of a Ciaran Clark error just seconds before the halftime whistle, calmly receiving a Edin Dzeko pass and slotting it past a busy Brad Guzan. Clark claimed that he had been fouled by Dzeko in the buildup, but referee Mike Dean waived off his protests.
The goalscoring Tevez had replaced an injured Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup. Aguero reportedly suffered a knee injury in training during the weekend match preparations, and it is unknown how long he will be sidelined. Aguero has suffered two separate injuries since the start of the season.
Aston Villa had several chances to equalize in the second half but was only able to put one shot on target. Villa’s Matthew Lowton had his side’s best chance in the 66th minute, firing a low shot that just flew wide of the post. Dzeko later converted on a rebound from a Yaya Toure shot, but he was ruled offside.
Manchester City’s victory brings the deficit to league-leading United back down to 12 points with 10 Premier League matches left. Aston Villa will have a chance to get out of the drop zone with upcoming meetings with fellow relegation candidates Reading and QPR.
Here are some more stories to wrap up your Monday:
NEYMAR MAY LEAVE BEFORE SANTOS CONTRACT EXPIRES
Neymar has constantly told reporters that if he left his home club Santos for a European club, it would be after the 2014 World Cup.
However, the Brazilian forward changed his tune when asked about a move to Europe on Sunday, saying that he would leave whenever he wanted to.
“If I feel that it’s time to leave, I’ll leave,” Neymar said. “If I feel it’s the right thing to do, why not? This is personal. I will make this decision, nobody else.”
Brazilian teammate and FC Barcelona player Dani Alves recently told Spanish media that Neymar would be on his way to Camp Nou later this year, but Neymar said otherwise on Sunday.
“What if I say that Messi is coming to Santos?” Neymar said. “I thank Daniel for what he said, he is a good friend, but I’m happy at Santos right now.”
Neymar has had a disappointing run for both club and country in the past few months, leading some to believe that his stock has dropped overseas. But the transfer rumor mills are staying heated in regards to the 21-year-old. Reports of summer moves to Bayern Munich and Manchester City continue to pop up across Brazil and Europe.
REAL’S CASILLAS OUT FOR MAN UNITED MATCH
Iker Casillas was included in Jose Mourinho’s 24-man roster for Real Madrid’s upcoming Champions League match with Manchester United, but the veteran goalkeeper will not be available for the Tuesday showdown.
“Everyone is fit and ready to play and be considered, with the exception of Iker Casillas,” Mourinho said on Monday.
Casillas returned to training on Thursday for the first time since breaking his hand against Valencia in January. Diego Lopez is expected to start at goalkeeper for Real on Tuesday.
The Chinese Football Association has announced that David Beckham has been signed as its first global ambassador. (REPORT)
Sudan has lost the top spot in its World Cup qualifying group after FIFA stripped its 2-0 win over Zambia for fielding an ineligible player. (REPORT)
British police are investigating an incident when an Arsenal fan threw a banana at white Tottenham player Gareth Bale on Sunday. (REPORT)
West Ham United chairman David Gold says that the club is close to making a deal for a move to London’s Olympic Stadium. (REPORT)
FIFA has announced that the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup will offer special seating for obese fans. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Where do you think Manchester City will finish this season? Think Aston Villa will be able to avoid the drop? What are your thoughts on Neymar’s comments?
Share your comments below.